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Hackers stole $2.3 million from Trump reelection funds in Wisconsin

The thieves created fake invoices to look like vendors that the Wisconsin Republican Party worked with.

President Trump wearing a MAGA hat
President Trump speaking at a rally in Wisconsin.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's reelection campaign in Wisconsin took a $2.3 million hit from hackers during the last week, the state's Republican Party said Thursday. 

The Wisconsin GOP disclosed in a statement that hackers targeted and stole from the organization's Trump reelection funds in the battleground state, with less than a week to go until Election Day. The Associated Press first reported on the cyberattack.

"Cybercriminals, using a sophisticated phishing attack, stole funds intended for the re-election of President Trump, altered invoices and committed wire fraud," Wisconsin GOP chairman Andrew Hitt said in a statement. "These criminals exhibited a level of familiarity with state party operations at the end of the campaign to commit this crime." 

The familiarity included knowing enough about the Wisconsin Republican Party's partners to fake invoices from the companies, sending the money to the hackers instead of the vendors. The vendors were responsible for sending campaign mail and making hats for Trump supporters. 

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Hitt said that while the party lost millions for its campaigning efforts, it still expected to run at "full capacity" to support Trump's reelection.

The hack is a "business email compromise" scheme, a common scam in which hackers pose as business partners for an organization and request payments on their behalf. Google and Facebook lost more than $100 million in a scheme from 2013 to 2015 to a Lithuanian man posing as a computer hardware company.

Wisconsin's Republican Party said it first noticed it was the victim of a cyberattack on Oct. 22, and notified the FBI on Oct. 23. The organization said it doesn't believe the hackers stole any data in the process.

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The FBI didn't respond to a request for comment. 

It's unclear if the cyberattacks were politically motivated or for financial gains. 

While cybersecurity officials have warned about foreign hackers looking to interfere with the US presidential election, cybercriminals can also target organizations specifically to seek profits. 

Politically motivated hacks have targeted voter registration databases and searched for sensitive documents for disinformation campaigns rather than attempted to steal money from the organizations.