February 14, 2023
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Almost $238,000 Recovered after Phishing Scam targeting Boulder County
Boulder County, Colo. - Information contained herein is related to this previous press release sent from Boulder County on September 30, 2022.
Following the incident previously described, members of the Boulder County Digital Forensics Lab were contacted regarding this case. A detective with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, who is assigned to the Boulder County Digital Forensics Lab was able to trace the funds to a bank account in the United States where they were still showing as an available balance. Investigators were able to freeze the funds in the account to prevent the movement of the money most likely to an account or multiple accounts outside of the United States. On December 7, 2022, the $237,241.18 was returned to Boulder County, which is the full amount the check was initially issued for following the phishing incident.
At this time, this investigation is still ongoing and no further information may be released.
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office houses the Boulder County Digital Forensics Lab (BCDFL) which includes investigators from Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Longmont Department of Public Safety, Boulder Police Department and Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. In addition to other responsibilities, investigators assigned to the BCDFL are tasked with investigating child sexual exploitation cases and high technology crimes, plus digital forensics expertise and analysis on a wide range of cases. In the instance of this case, due to the large amount of money involved and the technology component of the case, members of the BCDFL were involved in this investigation.
The associated Boulder County Sheriff’s Office case number is 22-04976.
Agencies who assisted with this investigation include the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, and the Penn Township Police Department in Pennsylvania.
If you would like to read more about these or other types of scams, there are resources available online from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding Business Email Compromise, Spoofing and Phishing as well as others seen here (links are external).
Boulder County has a cyber security program which is committed to defending the community's resources from all kinds of fraud and cyber security threats. Our cyber security incident response was able to collect and provide a full report on the spearfishing incident to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, United States Secret Service, and JPMorgan Chase & Co's fraud team so they could carry the investigation forward.
Boulder County continuously improves its security and fraud prevention safeguards, and this incident has prompted several improvements. County accounting teams have received additional training to identify vendor impersonation fraud and how to request help with verification of suspicious requests. An independent verification step has been added to our vendor payment instruction change process. Finally, our email security tools have been configured to warn users about email domains which are newly registered, and those which are only one or two characters different from our partner organizations.
/s/ Sergeant Jeff Pelletier