Published: 06/09/2017 09:45 - Updated: 06/09/2017 09:52

Highland Hospice claws back some of lost cyber crime money

Written byMike Merritt

 

 

Mr Kenny Steele at the Highland Hospice which was a victim of cyber crime
Mr Kenny Steele at the Highland Hospice which was a victim of cyber crime
 

 

A charity that provides care to people dying from incurable diseases has managed to recover nearly a third of its £570,000 that was scammed by heartless cyber thieves.

Highland Hospice in Inverness was conned in a "vishing" scam that saw organisations in the Highlands losing almost £2.5m in total.

Today the hospice announced progress on recovery of its funds which were stolen by cyber criminals from its Bank of Scotland account at the end of July.

Highland Hospice’s Chief Executive Officer Kenny Steele said that over £170,000 have been recovered by the bank with further recovery expected.

“We are hopeful that all the funds can be recovered and we are grateful to Bank of Scotland for their efforts in this regard," he said.

"Bank of Scotland recognise that as well as these funds being vital for the care of people in the Highlands, the funds stolen represent the hard earned cash of thousands of people in the Highlands who support Highland Hospice.

"Bank of Scotland has said that it could take up to six weeks to identify where all the funds have gone and to take full recovery action.

"As we are approaching the end of this six week period since the crime was committed we are working closely with the bank to secure the remaining funds.”

He added that he wished to thank the bank for their help in the matter, saying, “Highland Hospice has been a customer of Bank of Scotland for many years and their support is very much appreciated.”

Police said it was aware of other hospices being targeted, but it was not yet clear if the cases were linked.

The Highland charity, along with other organisations and businesses, received calls from people claiming to work for their banks and telling them their account had been compromised.

Police Scotland said the fraudsters used "genuine-looking communications".

Highland Hospice chairman Forbes Duthie said at the time "staff at the hospice have been shocked and devastated by this despicable and sophisticated crime.

"The stolen funds had been raised through the generosity and significant efforts of Hospice fundraisers and supporters to help us care for our patients and support their families which makes the crime especially abhorrent."

Det Insp Iain McPhail said police were carrying out a "thorough investigation" of the incident.

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