OCALA, Fla. — Ocala officials said Thursday that the city had suffered a “net financial loss” as a result of a recent email "spear phishing" scam, the latest in a series of recent cybercrimes against Central Florida municipalities.
- City of Ocala hit by email "spear phishing" campaign
- Officials: There was undetermined "net financial loss to the city"
- Customer data is safe and secure, city says
Ocala officials said in a news release that an email was sent to the city from an address they thought was a city contractor. The email had officials pay for the assumed contractor's service electronically to what officials said turned out to be a fake account.
Once the city learned of the payment to the fake account, it reported it to law enforcement.
Ocala spokesperson Ashley Dobbs said in the release that the city is working with authorities to identify the fraudulent contractor and try to recover the lost funds. Officials haven't yet determined how much money they lost.
The city described the incident as isolated and said customer data is safe. Ocala's information systems were not compromised, they said.
"While we can’t change this outcome, we will continue to update and refine our cyber security systems and trainings to minimize future impacts," Dobbs said.
Last month, Palm Bay officials said the city was one of four targeted in a cyberattack targeting software used for online utility paments. Port Orange said earlier this month that it used the same targeted software.