Tag Archives: Maine

Davidson County Schools among about 20 districts hit by phishing scams

Phishing scams similar to the one that collected the W-2s and personal information of approximately 3,200 Davidson County Schools employees have hit at least 20 other school systems across the country over the past two years. In at least one case, the scam was traced back to Russia, and authorities say that may be the case here.

Each of the school systems that fell victim to the scams received emails whose sender posed as the district superintendent and requested employees’ W-2 forms or personal information.

Though many of the scams are still under investigation, Central Illinois Proud – a website for two television stations in Illinois – reported Jan. 31 that an email used to trick an employee of the Morton School District there into releasing names and Social Security numbers of employees was traced back to Russia.

Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said the phishing scam that targeted Davidson County Schools remains under investigation, so he couldn’t say definitively that it originated in Russia. However, he said, “there is a strong possibility in our situation that is the case.”

Grice said scams such as these typically seem to be working out of countries like Great Britain and Russia.

Dr. Lory Morrow, Davidson County Schools superintendent, could not be reached for comment regarding updated information on the scam. The school system has created a page on its website to answer victims’ frequently asked questions.

The number of people affected by the phishing scams varied from district to district. The School District of Manatee County, in Florida, inadvertently released the information of 7,700 employees on Feb. 6, according to an article in the Bradenton Herald. In the Barron Area School District, in Wisconsin, five employees’ information was sent to the unknown scammer on Feb. 15, the Barron News-Shield reported.

Barron Area’s numbers are considered an outlier in comparison to the rest of the school districts who sent off information, with the next lowest number of employees affected landing at 400 in the Brunswick School Department, in Maine.

Brunswick was targeted on March 31, 2016; however the employee who sent out the information was wary enough of the email to mark through dates of birth and Social Security numbers of the employees before sending the information. When the scammer responded and requested the forms to be sent again with all of the information, administrators within the system realized the request was not valid, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Three out of the 20 cases affecting school districts were in Texas, including: Argyle Independent School District, which sent employees’ W-2 information on Jan. 20; Corsicana Independent School District, which was hit Feb. 8; and the Belton Independent School District, which released the information for 1,700 of its employees on Jan. 27. The news agencies that reported on these scams were NBCFW5, Corsicana Daily Sun and CENTV, respectively.

Wildlife officials warn Mainers about fake hunting permits

STATEWIDE (WGME) — Maine wildlife officials are asking residents to be aware of fake websites that are luring customers into phishing scams with false promises of hunting licenses.

The State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says residents should make sure that the only place they’re buying sporting licenses from is the Maine.gov website.

The department says other websites may direct you to other services that aren’t needed, provide incorrect information, or charge customers for unnecessary services.

Some websites may also collect personal information in phishing schemes.

The wildlife commissioner says Maine.gov handles about 350,000 sporting transactions each year.

The state is currently taking thousands of applications for deer permits.

Due in part to a mild winter, Maine wildlife regulators are actually increasing the number of “any deer” permits by 60 percent this year, that means a larger number of people are at risk of falling for this permit fraud.

Online applications for those permits are due by August 15, and make sure it’s through the Maine.gov website.



Arkansas Attorney General joins comment letter to FTC about spam and phishing text messages

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced she has joined other state attorneys general in a comment letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking it to maintain its current safeguards and filters for protecting consumers from spam and phishing text messages.

“As I continue to work with my colleagues to reduce annoying telemarketing calls to Arkansans, I want to make sure that wireless carriers do not lose their ability to protect consumers’ messaging,” Rutledge said. “Taking this ability away would make consumers increasingly vulnerable to dangerous spam and phishing schemes.”

Rutledge signed the comment letter, led by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, along with attorneys general from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“Text messaging spam would be a major annoyance to consumers and would be a vehicle for various fraudulent activities,” the attorneys general said in the letter. “We believe, and our citizens desire, that this unique wireless service should be kept ‘spam free.’”