Juneau Soccer Club scammed out of more than $13K

‘Spoofer’ uses fake email invoices takes advantage of nonprofit, volunteer-run club

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A clever “spoofing” scheme — with the sender masking their email to look like a familiar email address — has scammed the Juneau Soccer Club out of more than $13,000.

 

On Friday, the board of the club, which serves Juneau’s youth up to high school, sent out emails to club members and posted an explanation of the crime on its website, urging anyone with questions to come to a meeting Tuesday.

The club’s treasurer received several emails that appeared to be from the president, requesting that he transfer funds to pay for club equipment, said board member Elizabeth Davis.

According to the release issued by the board, three separate transfers were processed in the amounts of $2,800, $5,550 and $5,384.

“It was discovered fairly quickly,” Davis said. “But the funds were not recoverable.”

Davis said the board conducted an internal investigation to determine exactly what happened. All emails between the treasurer and the scammers, receipts, communications from the club’s bank, and transcripts of communication between the treasurer and president were gathered and reviewed.

The information was then turned over to the Juneau Police Department, Davis said, adding that the false invoice emails did not seem out of the norm.

“It’s important for others to know that nonprofits can be an easy target,” she said. “We’re run by volunteers and all our information is up on the website.”

The board’s release stated that the current treasurer was asked to step down, “in light of departures from official JSC policies and procedures.” The policies posted on the club’s website, dated 2014, state that payments of $5,000 or more must also be authorized by the signature of a second designated board member or written approval by email or correspondence from the board chairperson or his or her designee.

The board already has made changes to its policies, Davis said, and will be further reviewing its procedures over the next few months. One item that will be addressed will be protection against electronic fraud threats, the board’s release stressed.

“Fortunately, this is not going to impact the players or the programs,” Davis said, explaining the club has a contingency fund meant to absorb unplanned or emergency expenses.

The board has set a special club meeting from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday open to all members older than 12, to share its information and answer questions.


• Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or liz.kellar@juneauempire.com.


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