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$118,000 Stolen From Oakdale Coffers In Cyber Theft

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OAKDALE (CBS13) — The city of Oakdale says it was a cyber crime, a computer virus that sent $118,000 out of state.

Now the city is trying to figure out who did this, and how they get that money back.

“Being able to do that from Oakdale, I mean that’s amazing,” said one resident.

With the wrong click on the keyboard, the money was gone. The police say hackers obtained an employee password through a virus sent over email, and that gave the cyber crooks access to transfer the Oakdale city funds out of state.

“It just underscores the increasing levels of sophistication that the cyber criminals are dealing with right now,” said City Manager Gregory Wellman.

Wellman tells CBS13’s Ben Sosenko the thieves may have made off with more than just money — 600 residents who pay their water bill automatically may have had their personal information taken too.

“We felt it was important to disclose as much as we could as early as we could,” he said.

The police say the email was disguised to appear to be legitimate and sent out to many city employees. It’s called a “phishing” email — and one employee bit.

The FBI is now involved in the investigation and city officials say they are narrowing down who took the money. The city has also since hired an outside agency to look at their computer security.

Still some people in town say that should have been in place before the attack.

“I believe that they probably should have had stronger security in place, better firewalls, double checking,” Theresa Alverado said.

But the cyber theft didn’t do much to impress Paul Girard of Sonora.

“I’m sort of numb to all of this stuff now,” he said. “Washington has done, Sacramento has done it. Do we get excited? I don’t think so.”

The city is insured and officials say they should get back all $118,000.

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