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Gwynedd community council ‘scammed’ out of £9,000 of public money

A NORTH Wales community council has been scammed out of £9,000 of public money.

The minutes of the January 9, 2023 meeting of the Harlech Community Council states on its website that the cash was taken in what appeared to have been an “authorised push payment (APP) scam.”

According to the HSBC website, an APP is “the type of scam in which a criminal tricks people into transferring money to them.

“It differs from other types of fraud, where criminals get access to accounts and steal money without the account holder’s knowledge.”

The incident concerned an “advance payment” which had allegedly been given to a person who was to carry out some “consultative work” for the community council.

The fraud was confirmed in minutes, posted on the council’s website: “The treasurer reported that unfortunately the council had been scammed out of £9,000 by a person called Oluwafeni Odunuga – stating that he was going to carry out consultative work for the council and an advance payment would be required.

It also said the treasurer had stated further that “she had telephoned the (HSBC) bank’s fraud department” and the matter was dealt with at the time by them.

“The treasurer reported further that she had received a letter from HSBC bank stating that its looks like the council has been a victim of an “authorised push payment” scam and they were now looking into this and contacting the fraudster’s bank.”

It added that the HSBC bank would be contacted and the treasurer within 15 working days to provide an update on the matter. The council’s clerk, community and Gwynedd councillor for Harlech and Llanbedr, Annwen Hughes said: “This matter has been dealt with by the community council and will not be discussed further.”