Iowa Auditor of State Rob Sand is warning Iowans about the ways fraudulent emails can be designed to give scammers access to your tax dollars or bank account. This warning comes after a scammer attempted to defraud the state and Auditor Sand himself. A Human Resources Associate with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) contacted Auditor Sand on May 13 to alert him to an email received by DAS requesting a change in Auditor Sand’s direct deposit. Auditor Sand confirmed the email was fake.

“I want to thank Marsha Webb from DAS for contacting me and identifying this email as fraudulent,” said Sand. “She did exactly what we advise all governmental entities to do when they receive requests to redirect payments. Her actions saved me and the taxpayers of Iowa money.”

To ensure the validity of any instructions to revise bank routing information, Auditor Sand strongly advises representatives of all governmental entities to call any vendors or affected individuals to independently confirm any instructions received electronically. They should not respond to the email. Any correspondence should take place using previously held contact information to ensure the appropriate party or individual is reached. If a representative of a governmental entity learns it received an email improperly instructing them to revise bank routing information for future payments, this information should be reported to the FBI here. The entity should immediately contact the Office of Auditor of State at 515-281-5834 to report the suspected irregularity as required by section 11.6(7) of the Code of Iowa.

The Office of the Auditor of State offers these tips to prevent email scams.

• Carefully examine the email address and URL. Slight variations in the email address   or URL could be a sign of a scam.

• Look for grammatical errors or odd phrases.

• Verify payment and purchase requests in person or by calling the person via previously held contact information to ensure their legitimacy.

• Never click on links in unsolicited emails or text messages.

• Don’t download email attachments from people you don’t know or forwarded emails.