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Peterborough, NH Loses $2.3 Million In Email Scam

PETERBOROUGH, NH (CBS) - In the small town of Peterborough, New Hampshire $2.3 million was stolen from taxpayers during July and in August by cybercriminals.

The town said $1.2 million was set to go to the Con-Val School District and another $1.1 million was set to go to Peterborough's Main Street bridge project in August.

The criminals forged email accounts pretending to be officials from either the school district or contractors from the bridge project. They then communicated with the town staff to receive the payments.

"They clearly paid attention to how we conduct business, who we conducted business with, and they targeted the most valuable transfers," Town Administrator Nicole Macstay said. "They also learned small governments like ours are not protected as well as banks or cities."

The town says for now they're waiting to see if the funds will be covered by insurance. Meanwhile, tax-paying residents are in disbelief.

"We have enough problems as it is now with the pandemic and everything that's going on, now this too," Gary Shephard said.

"We definitely are going to need that money we're going to have to figure out what we're going to do without it and how we're going to pull together as a community and figure out what to do," Shannon Phillips said.

Officials said no town staff members were criminally involved in these incidents but employees that handled the transfers are on leave until the U.S. Secret Service completes their investigation.

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