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December 10, 2023

Alexander County Schools head off email scam just before attack

Employees urged not to send employment data via Internet

Alexander County Schools are the latest target in an attempted email scam to obtain sensitive employee information, said authorities.

School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner confirmed Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, at the Alexander County Board of Education meeting that a fraudulent email was sent out a few hours earlier, on Tuesday afternoon, to school employees, seemingly from her email address. However, the email was in fact a scam. The fake email asked for employees’ W-2 tax forms to be submitted via email.

Dr. Hefner said employees will never be asked to transmit W-2 or other sensitive employment information over the Internet.

Hefner said that she was notified of a similar scheme which hit Davidson County Schools last week. She had discussed the Davidson situation with Alexander County Schools employees late last week, as a preventive measure in case such a scam was attempted here. The timing was quite appropriate, it turned out.

Hefner informed local law enforcement of the fraudulent email and officers are investigating the case.

This follows an earlier announcement of a similar email attack which affected a local furniture company, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Chairman and CEO Gold stated that on January 23, 2017, “we discovered our company was the targeted victim of an email spoofing attack whereby an unauthorized person obtained certain employee information. As soon as the company discovered the fraudulent nature of the spoofing attack, we began working tirelessly to investigate and to mitigate the impact of the attack. The day we discovered the fraudulent spoofing attack, we notified the Internal Revenue Service, and the following morning we met with the Alexander County Sheriff and Sheriff’s Office detectives to commence an investigation.”

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