Fraud at Yorkshire golf clubs on the rise

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire April 12, 2017 11:20

The secretary of the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs (YUGC) has said that at least two of its member clubs were victims of fraud in 2016.

The Golf Business reported on Hull GC, which lost £300,000 last year when it was targeted by fraudsters, but it has now emerged at least one more club was also hit.

The situation has become so pressing for the YUGC that its former president, Jonathan Plaxton, spoke at last month’s annual meeting, partly because his career was spent in the banking industry.

Prior to the meeting YUGC secretary Keith Dowswell said that at least two ‘White Rose’ clubs fell victim to fraud last year.

“It is extremely important to the members of the executive committee to have the opportunity to listen to (member clubs’) observations,” he said.

The scam involving Hull Golf Club is thought to be, financially, the biggest bank fraud to have hit the golf industry ever, and led to an investigation that was launched by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

Independent experts said the crime had all the hallmarks of a “targeted attack” on the golf club.

John McDowell, managing director of Encription, a digital security company, said: “Sports clubs make ideal targets. It sounds as though this was a targeted attack, and I say that because most large organisations have already been attacked, and so have taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

“They are therefore much, much harder to hit, and it has forced hackers to go for the low-lying fruit, as it were – the golf clubs and small businesses.

“The biggest weakness is people.

“People like to be helpful and scammers exploit that.

“They will phone businesses, as well as individuals, saying they’re from the bank and could they have account numbers and passwords.”

It also emerged last year that Waterlooville Golf Club in Hampshire was swindled out of £90,000. The club downloaded spyware on one of its computers and its bank failed to spot an unusual transaction on its account. That bank then refused to pay the club the money it lost because the club had not downloaded the bank’s own security software.

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire April 12, 2017 11:20
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