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Scottish business conned out of £18 million in ‘vishing’ telephone scam

A company has been conned out of £18 million in a telephone scam.

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A senior executive at the firm, which has not been named, was tricked into transferring the cash into a foreign bank account after criminals posed as the Scottish firm's boss.

Financial crime detectives at Police Scotland tracked the money down overseas.

They believe the "vishing" scam is one of a series of similar schemes targeting major companies and have warned firms to be vigilant.

Detective chief inspector Kenny Thomson, of Police Scotland's economic crime and financial investigation unit, told The Herald newspaper: "We are talking about vast amounts of money. But the way the crime works is similar to a vishing scam.

"Generally, a finance person will get the call from someone saying they are the chief exec. 'You have never met me before,' the person will say, 'but you know my name, don't you?'

"The caller will then say that he has a 'hush-hush' project to discuss, an acquisition or business deal. 'You can't tell anybody about it,' the caller will say, 'but I need you to move money straight away'."

Mr Thomson said officers are investigating a similar case worth tens of thousands of euros. It is not known if they are connected.

He said: "The callers use the company jargon and they play on time differences and pressure.

"So, the message we want to get out is to be aware, to ask the questions and do the due diligence when pressure is put on you."

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