A GOLF club has criticised its bank for refusing to reimburse a huge amount of money stolen in a shocking cyber-theft.
Waterlooville Golf Club had nearly £90,000 stolen from its accounts by hackers, and was forced to take out a loan to stay afloat.
It is understood the thieves may have used hacking software, or ‘spyware’, which was downloaded to the club’s computer in August 2014 via an email containing a fake invoice.
They then proceeded to snatch £9,700 from the club’s business account, and £80,190 from a linked savings account.
Following the cyber-theft, NatWest refused to refund the money as it believed the golf club had been negligent in not downloading the recommended security software.
Manager Mark Wycherley said the theft put the future of the club at risk.
He said: ‘£90,000 is not a huge amount of money to NatWest, but to us it is a lot of money.
‘The total number of golf club members has declined in recent years, and we have faced our share of that challenge.’
After unsatisfactory talks with the bank, Waterlooville Golf Club, which is off Cherry Tree Avenue, Cowplain, is planning to write to Havant MP Alan Mak to try to raise awareness of the issue.
However, Mr Wycherley says the theft has not had an adverse effect on the functionality of the club, which was founded in 1907.
He said: ‘It did not affect the quality of services or the quality of product here.
‘We lost less than 39 members last year compared to the annual average of 83.
‘This year we seem to be turning the tide a little bit.’
NatWest has said it has ‘sympathy’ with the golf club following the theft.
A spokesman for the bank said: ‘We investigated the case thoroughly and provided a detailed rationale for the outcome.’
NatWest has also advised customers to take advantage of their free Trusteer Rapport security software, which can catch malware that may evade other anti-virus software.
A spokeman said: ‘We provide extensive security advice to enable customers to prevent malware fraud, through direct messages, emails and access to the security centre on our website.’