City of Tifton loses $50,000 in cyber-scam

May 7—TIFTON — The City of Tifton is warning citizens to be "hyper-vigilant" after the city was bilked out of $50,000 in a cyber-scam.

A vendor the city does business with was the target, a statement from the City of Tifton said. Criminals impersonated the business, asking for a legitimate invoice to be paid electronically instead of by check, the statement said.

The invoice was paid, and the scam was discovered when the business told the city they had not been paid. The payment of $49,370.65 had been sent to a scammers account instead.

"While we already had safety measures in place, this incident has caused us to tighten our security practices even more," said City Manager Emily Beeman. "It's a shame we have to look at every email, transaction and interaction suspiciously, but that's simply what we have to do."

Tifton is working with local and federal law enforcement agencies in the cyber-attack investigation.

"Fortunately, larger entities such as the city have insurance that covers financial scams," said Mayor Julie Smith. "Individuals aren't typically that lucky."