Highlands & Islands

Hospices in Scotland being targeted by vishing scams

A charity that provides care to people dying from incurable disease has lost thousands of pounds after being targeted by fraudsters.

Highland Hospice in Inverness said it lost a six figure sum in a "vishing" scam.

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

Highland Hospice has been able to recover some of its money.

Last month the 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".

'Abhorrent crime'

Highland Hospice chairman Forbes Duthie said: "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."

The charity's chief executive officer Kenny Steele added: "Although this is a horrendous situation it will not have an immediate impact on operations.

"There is resilience built into the hospice financial systems to cope with these types of risk to ensure that our top priority of patient and family care and wellbeing is protected."

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

He added: "These incidents are unusual in their scale for the Highlands but there is nothing to suggest that the north of Scotland is being particularly targeted."

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