Warning as Yorkshire golf club becomes victim of huge bank fraud

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 15, 2016 11:42

Hull Golf Club in Yorkshire has become the victim of what is thought to be, financially, the biggest bank fraud to have hit the golf industry ever.

The club’s account has had nearly £300,000 taken out by fraudsters and a spokesman has admitted the club is unlikely to get most of it back.

According to the Hull Daily Mail, the scam took place at the end of May. The police have been called in, an investigation has been launched by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, and the club’s members have been notified. Much of the money came from their £1,000-a-year subscription fees.

While it is not clear exactly what happened a security expert has warned all golf club employees not to disclose account details and passwords over the phone, as fraudsters are constantly trying to trick people into revealing information.

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Image from www.perspecsys.com

In a letter to members, club chairman John Jackson says “with profound regret” he has to report that “a sum approaching £300,000 was removed from the club’s bank account.”

He goes on to say “a partial although small” amount of money may be recovered, but it is likely the “scam fraudsters” will escape with the bulk of the cash.

The club says its own “governance and internal controls” will be investigated.

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.”

The impact on subscriptions at the club is not yet known.

The club, which currently has a nine-month waiting list to join, was founded in 1904. It is popular with high-profile businesspeople and has counted Hull City footballers among its 800 members.

In a statement, Hull Golf Club said: “It appears that we have suffered at the hands of very cleverly organised scam fraudsters. We are cooperating fully with the Action Fraud. Despite this setback, the club is able to continue to provide normal services to members and visitors. Our members and staff have been informed.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 15, 2016 11:42
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