LGIS Members targeted in phishing scam Back

​In the last few weeks a number of LGIS members have been targeted by a scam. Unfortunately a small number have suffered losses, some significant enough to trigger their LGIS Commercial Crime and Cyber Liability Protection.

About the scam – Gift card request
The scammers pose as either the Mayor or President and email elected members or local government staff with an urgent and 'secret' request to purchase electronic gift cards.

The scammer provides a reason:

  • For the purchase – for example to surprise staff with a reward for all their hard work. 
  • Why they can't do it – for example they're currently on a camping holiday and out of range.
  • For the urgency – gift certificates will be presented at a surprise meeting.
  • For secrecy – it's a 'surprise' for everyone that the Mayor/President is doing personally for staff.

The scammer asks the recipient to purchase electronic gift cards (e.g: Amazon) with their personal funds and promises to reimburse them.

Once gift certificates are purchased the scammer asks that they're sent to the sending (i.e: scammers) email address. Where the initial scam has been successful the scammer has then come back requesting more gift cards.

Members should be aware that the scammers will attempt to build rapport with the victim by asking after their general wellbeing and polite 'chit-chat'.

Action to take
Ensure that all local government staff and councillors are aware of this scam.

It is always good practice if you receive a questionable email to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was I expecting this message? Is it characteristic of the sender?
  • Does this email make sense? 
  • Am I being pushed to act hastily or out of fear? 
  • Does this seem too good to be true? 
  • Are you being asked to download a file or click a link to provide information that could be used to compromise systems (such as passwords or financial data)?

What if this actually is a phishing email – what could happen if I respond or take action as requested

If your answers to any of these questions raise suspicions take further action. Call or email the person on contact details that are already verified and on file.

DO NOT respond to the email, click on any links, or use contact details provided in an attempt to verify.

LGIS Commercial Crime and Cyber Liability Protection
If you have any questions about this scam or would like to know more about your LGIS Commercial Crime and Cyber Liability Protection, please contact your Account Manager directly.