A scammer – apparently from Great Britain – has hacked into the email account of the Eldridge Community Center manager, according to a news release.

The release says the City of Eldridge became aware Tuesday of these incidents:

A scammer from an IP address in Great Britain hacked into the Microsoft Outlook email of Community Center Manager Alexis Diedrich on, or about, May 30. The scammer then sent some emails pretending to be the manager that included invoices for events. “These invoices were the same invoices the manager uses except the criminals modified them to include a Zelle account to collect fraudulent payments,” the release says.

(Getty Images)

The City of Eldridge does not use Zelle accounts to collect payments or for any other purpose.
The fraudulent payment information on the invoice was:

Please make Zelle payment to;
Name: Barbara Lillard
Email: Englandmichael365@gmail.com

Diedrich was contacted by a person who received an email and invoice from the scammers on the afternoon of Monday, June 5. “Because this person’s event had already passed the recipient was confused by the email,” the release says.

The person contacted the Community Center manager but was unable to forward the email to her. The manager obtained a hard copy of the email and invoice and contacted Assistant City Administrator Jeff Martens early on Tuesday, June 6, the release says.

City staff immediately contacted the city IT company to look at the Community Center manager’s email account. IT discovered within minutes that it had been accessed by an IP address from Great Britain and the IT company locked that IP address out of the account. IT also conducted a search of all other city email accounts and found no evidence of outside IP addresses accessing any of them.

“The city was told by IT that they will probably never be able to determine how access was originally gained by the scammers,” the release says.

According to the release, the city was provided with a list of 13 email addresses that may have been contacted by the scammers. The people with those emails have been contacted by the city and so far three have indicated that they were emailed by the scammers.

The release says “One of the three did submit a payment of $450 to the Zelle account listed on the fraudulent invoice for an upcoming event they had booked at the Community Center. The city does not know if any other Quad City organizations have fallen victim to these criminals but they recommend not making any payments to the above Zelle account, name or email address and that if anyone has made payment to this account to contact their local authorities.”