Scottish football team Hamilton Academical plans to sue RBS following a scam in which the club was defrauded of nearly £1 million. The fraud wiped out the club’s savings, leaving it unable to take plans for a new indoor sports hall forward.
It is understood that the club’s board has instructed it’s lawyers to write to Royal Bank of Scotland in a bid to recoup half of the money lost.
BBC Scotland reports that RBS is ‘confident there was no breakdown in its security procedures’ and that the bank is working with Police Scotland to identify the culprits behind the scam.
Hamilton chief executive Colin McGowan confirmed to the BBC that the club managed to recover about £170,000 from the scam, but approximately £800,000 remains outstanding.
Mr McGowan told the BBC: “We believe the bank have to look at their duty of care and their security. We are not claiming to be blameless but we have been the victims of a complex fraud and I don’t think it would have taken place if things had been different. As far as I am concerned there is proof positive that there was security lapses at the bank.
“It does not take Sherlock Holmes to work this out.”
Royal Bank of Scotland stated it has not yet received a formal response from the club’s lawyers.
Approved and Authorised
A spokeswoman said: “The bank is confident that there has been no breakdown in our security procedures in regards to this scam and that no unauthorised persons were able to gain access to any of the club’s banking facilities. All payments were keyed and approved by the authorised user of the club’s account.
“The bank contacted HAFC to question the transactions on two separate occasions and the customer instructed the bank to continue with the payments. RBS is working with Hamilton Academical Football Club and supporting Police Scotland to identify the perpetrators of this scam. ”
The fraud made use of a technique known as voice phishing or ‘vishing’ in which the victim is contacted by telephone by a fraudster claiming to be from a bank or other trusted institution. The fraudster claims the victim is at risk of, or subject to fraud and persuades them to move money, or reveal security information.
In the case of Hamilton Academical, in October 2017, an employee with authorised access to the club’s accounts was persuaded to move a large sum of money into a large number different accounts to ‘prevent theft’.
The club said the first two payments (of £40,000 and £70,000) – were initially suspended by the bank’s cyber security team. However, the employee was convinced to ignore the warnings and continue the transactions. The following day £655,000 went out in 20 transactions.