19 Boston school employees fall victim to phishing scam

BOSTON — Nineteen Boston Public School staff members are re-assessing their banking and personal security after becoming victims of a sophisticated scam that cost them their paychecks.

The checks totally nearly $40,000 and were deposited to an account in California after hackers accessed the BPS information page and changed direct deposit information.

“I went into my Bank of America checking account and my check was not deposited,” one teacher said.

That’s when panic set in.

“Last week several BPS employees got an email that appeared to come from our OIIT Department which is our technology department,” the teacher who asked not to be identified said.

Boston Public Schools confirmed it learned about this phishing scam last week on June 21, and sent out a warning by email - but for this teacher and many others it was too late.

The emails looked real enough that nearly two dozen people followed the directions to verify their information.

“When I clicked on the link my ID number was there and my email which appeared correct and I closed out of the email,” the teacher said.

The scammers already had employee IDs and emails. Once a staff member verified them, the scammer had access to their personal online info on the Boston Public School website.

BPS sent an email to staff Friday saying in part: “Today we received notice that 19 individuals who fell prey to the scam had their direct deposit re-directed to a fraudulent account after the scammers logged into their Employee Self Service (ESS) account.”

The teacher who spoke to Boston 25 News is furious saying that should not have happened.

“They must have firewall protection. How did somebody get into the City of Boston Schools? Like, I don’t know how that happens,” she said.

Boston Public Schools said the City of Boston will be reissuing checks to the affected employees.