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Mounties investigating after City of Prince George hit with 'sophisticated' computer-based fraud of more than $700K

Two payments to a contractor were redirected and never received
Prince George City Hall. (via Hanna Petersen, PrinceGeorgeMatters).

Mounties in Prince George are investigating after the City saw two large payments go missing, believing computer fraud is the main source. 

Cpl. Craig Douglass says police received a report in September of this year regarding significant fraud. 

City of Prince George staff told police that two payments they had sent to a contractor, which totalled more than $700,000, had been redirected and never reached the company. 

Douglass says authorities were able to work with financial institutions and get back most of one payment, but another $375,000 needs to be returned. 

"Our first concern was to determine the extent of the fraud and who was affected," Douglass said, who adds RCMP is working with its international partners on this 'sophisticated' incident.  

"There are no indications that the City of Prince George was hacked or that personal information was compromised."

Police say they are also aware of similar and recent frauds being committed in the community as well as those across Canada. 

The RCMP is reminding people to: 

  • Be on the lookout for invoices that use the name of legitimate companies
    • Scammers will use real company names to make the invoices seem authentic 
  • Make sure you inspect invoices thoroughly before you make a payment
  • Be extra cautious of vendors that suddenly change the method that they accept payments
  • Compile a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which are not
  • Always verify that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action
  • Carefully verify email addresses and web domain names for any online payments

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or