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Hamilton Accies 'lose more than £750,000' in vishing fraud

STV News understands other clubs have been targeted by the elaborate con.

Police: Hamilton is working with the Police and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Police: Hamilton is working with the Police and the Royal Bank of Scotland. SNS Group

Hamilton Accies are believed to have lost more than £750,000 as a result of an elaborate vishing fraud.

STV News understands other clubs have been targeted but the SPFL confirmed only Hamilton have come forward.

The Premiership club said it is working with Police Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Chairman Les Gray described the fraud it as "one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club".

Vishing, which is also known as social engineering, usually takes the form of a call from an individual purporting to be from the bank.

The target is then told funds have to be moved urgently.

Armed with sensitive information the fraudster can then use the data to override telephone or online banking security.

It is understood the money was taken from Hamilton's accounts within days of the initial call.

'At this point it is imperative that we remain calm and work together as we go through one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club.'
Hamilton chairman Les Gray

Other clubs are believed to have lost five-figure sums recently and Police Scotland warned top-flight teams about the scam before Hamilton were targeted.

In a statement on Friday, chairman Les Gray said: "Hamilton Academical FC have been the target of an elaborate fraud resulting in the loss of a substantial sum of monies.

"The Police Service Scotland and our bank are working closely with the club conducting a criminal investigation to pursue those individuals responsible.

"At this point it is imperative that we remain calm and work together as we go through one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club."

He added: "In the interim, the directors intend to inject funds to meet the club's ongoing obligations until the investigation is complete to ensure continuity.

"It is our intention to host a media briefing to go into more detail when the initial legal and banking investigations reveal the facts. This will allow us to give full disclosure of the event.

"No further comment will be made at this time as the police investigation continues."

Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: "Hamilton Academical have informed us that they have been the victim of a sophisticated financial fraud and that Police Scotland are carrying out an investigation.

"This is clearly a very serious and unfortunate situation and everyone in the game will hope it can be resolved quickly.

"We will be monitoring the situation closely and working in conjunction with Hamilton Academical in the days and weeks ahead."

The agricultural and charitable sectors have also been targeted by vishing.

Individuals, especially the elderly, are vulnerable and a number of pensioners have lost their life savings to the sophisticated scam.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We can confirm a complaint has been received regarding a fraud and officers are currently carrying out inquiries into this matter."

The force was unable to comment on the scale of the fraud.

It is understood a key priority for detectives will be to work with RBS to see if any of the money stolen from the club can be recovered.

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