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419ers take council for £100k

Lads from Lagos lure Lanarkshire

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A Scottish local authority lost £102,000 to an African gang after being duped by a targeted letter scam.

The letter, received at the end of July, purported to come from one of South Lanarkshire Council's legitimate suppliers, and requested that payments be made into a different account.

The finance department complied, apparently without checking the request was genuine. The fraud is now the subject of a national investigation to discover if other local authorities have been similarly duped, and to attempt to trace the gang.

A South Lanarkshire Council spokeswoman said: "Forged documents instructing a change of bank details were sent to the council and used to obtain fraudulent payment of £102,000.

"We are co-operating with an ongoing national police investigation. The council are confident no member of staff is involved in the fraud."

The Council is currently facing a £55m budget shortfall. News that it had given away £102,000 to fraudsters came as its Trading Standards department warned council tax payers that any communications asking for bank details "should set alarm bells ringing". ®

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