State auditor warns of invoicing scam targeting tax dollars | KOB 4
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State auditor warns of invoicing scam targeting tax dollars

Jen French
April 23, 2018 10:13 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Office of the State Auditor warns of an invoicing scam after someone sent a phony invoice to Albuquerque Public Schools for more than $26,000. This week, the City of Belen and Taos Ski Valley were also targeted.

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Though APS did not fulfill the fraudulent invoice request of more than $26,000, phony invoices and bills have cost New Mexicans thousands. Since 2016, several school districts, the City of Albuquerque and San Miguel County received fake demands for payment.

In the latest round of bogus bills, the OSA says email messages appear to be from a legitimate vendor or internal government employee.

APS notified the OSA about the fake invoice they received on April 18.

"They were able to create a spoof email that looked like somebody they were working with," State Auditor Wayne Johnson said.

Last year, the City of Albuquerque wired $400,000 to a fraudulent account and never got the money back.

The Socorro School District lost $200,000 in the middle of a construction project. Superintendent Ron Hendrix said the district has a stricter payment procedure so it doesn’t get swindled again.

"Anytime someone calls in and requests anything about changing the vendor or changing banking information before you do anything call the vendor themselves and make sure it's a legitimate request,” Hendrix said.

Johnson said a simple phone can reveal if records are fabricated.

"Go to the known source of information if you are working with the vendor call that vendor directly," Johnson said.

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Jen French

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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