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Phishing Attack Steals Money Meant for HS Turf

Jason Scott

Courtland (Va.) High School has plans to install an eye-catching blue turf football field — but after a $600,000-plus payment was stolen, school officials are seeing red.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports that a scammer sent school officials a phony invoice for the installation of the field, part of a $1.2 million overall investment for the project. The school wound up wiring money to the fraudster instead of to the company that had actually performed the installation. Officials reportedly notified authorities immediately after learning they’d been had.

School board chair Baron Braswell said that the theft was orchestrated over email. It’s an example of what’s known as phishing — where a target is contacted by someone posing as a legitimate entity in an effort to steal sensitive information such as banking and credit card information, or in this case, money. 

Braswell told the Free Lance-Star that he hoped insurance would help to cover the losses, but expressed his anger at the theft.

“The sad thing about it is a crime has been committed against the citizens of the county,” he told the Free Lance-Star

The new turf at Courtland is first such project planned for all five high schools in Spotsylvania County. Courtland’s turf, due to an enhanced drainage system, is expected to cost the most at $1.2 million, while the remaining turf fields are estimated at $800,000 each. 

The fields were funded by a bond referendum approved by county voters.

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