The Voice • May 2017


Ohio state auditor Dave Yost has been directing an initiative to raise awareness on the issue of cybercrime that has been effecting local government offices in the area and around the nation. Traditionally, scammers have gone after private citizens, but now they are striking public offices in an attempt to gain access to tax revenue. At a press conference Yost stated, “We’ve all seen and heard about the criminals who try to steal our personal funds. These scammers would like nothing more than to get their sticky fingers on our tax dollars, too.” [1]

There is a variety of ways for cyber criminals to commit their crimes. These crimes are being committed through email communication. The victim will receive an email that may appear official, legitimate, and possibly from a trusted individual or entity – this is how advanced scammers methods have become. If the recipient opens this false email message and clicks a link or attachment, they can be subjected to malicious viruses that can take over data and keep it hostage until a certain amount of money has been paid to the scammer. This practice is referred to as ransomware.

“Some of these scam artists can make your eyes deceive you,” Auditor Yost said. “You need to be vigilant, especially if a proposed transaction originates from an email. When dispersing funds online, we must verify first, then trust.” [1]

Yost advised local government offices to do all of the following:

  • Review contact info that is displayed publicly and consider what info needs to be public to possibly reduce the likelihood of being targeted.
  • Establish procedures to regularly update anti-malware software and data back-ups.
  •  Establish procedures for dispersing funds, especially if the request is initiated through email communication.