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Canada City of Saskatoon falls prey to internet fraudster, sends $1-million to wrong bank account

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark addresses the media at the Legislative Building in Regina in April, 2018. The city says it has lost $1-million after it was targeted in an online scam.

Mark Taylor/The Canadian Press

The City of Saskatoon says it has lost $1 million in an online scam.

City manager Jeff Jorgenson says a fraudster electronically impersonated the chief financial officer of a construction company that has a contract with the city.

He says the culprit asked to have a payment sent to a new bank account and the city complied.

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The city contacted police after the fraud was discovered on Monday.

It has hired experts to try to recover the money.

Jorgenson says the city is reviewing its financial controls to make sure it is secure from future attacks.

“The attacks are always there. They’re always changing,” he said at a news conference Thursday.

“The fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated, and our controls and systems have to become more and more sophisticated as well.”

Mayor Charlie Clark said the city decided to go public with the fraud to be up front with taxpayers and warn others so it doesn’t happen to them.

Two years ago, MacEwan University in Edmonton reported that it had been defrauded of $11.8 million when three staff members were fooled into changing the electronic banking information of a construction company.

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The university said it was able recover $10.9 million because of a quick response by the school, lawyers, banks and the police.Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

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