Auditor: Mayor’s email account hacked

Just prior to the start of Tuesday’s Bellefontaine City Council meeting, Auditor Jack Reser said he got a somewhat startling email exchange from the account of Mayor Ben Stahler, who is on a city business trip to Japan this week.

The first message asked “Jack, Are you at the office?” After replying that he was at the office, the next email instructed the auditor to “process an outgoing wire transfer for the Account details below and code to professional expenses.”

The account at the Texas bank was listed in the name of Oyenuga Oyebowale and the amount listed was $28,624.

Mayor Stahler is in Japan on an official trip this week to promote the sister city relationship and meet with owners of local businesses to encourage economic development.

Reser said he instantly suspected it was a scam and his first act was to notify council and NetGain Information Systems, which provides data security for the city.

He said he was troubled that the hacked email address was the mayor’s city address.

“This is something we have to be aware of,” he said. 

“In this day, it’s very real,” Council President David Henry said. “Municipal accounts and government agencies have been hacked and shut down because of cyber attacks like this.”

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