AN award-winning businesswoman has told how she was seconds away from having £50,000 stolen from her bank accounts.

Linda Hill revealed the crooks even managed to call from what appeared to be Royal Bank of Scotland's fraud prevention line during the sophisticated scam.

By the time Linda realised she had fallen foul to con artists, most of her bank accounts and their overdrafts had been cleaned out - before a last minute call to banking bosses halted the money as it exited.

The travel agent today warned other businesses and people in the local community to be on their guard after the frightening experience.

She told the News: "I run a business and know all about scams, so I am very careful about security, but even I was shocked by how clever these people are becoming.

"I received a phone call from what I was told was the RBS fraud line - and I checked the back of my card and it was the same 0345 number.

"I was told that I had been the victim of a fraud, with £400 being paid to PC World, and that my details had been compromised.

"I was told I would be taken through my security details and I was asked for the six digit code for my banking app.

"Oddly I became suspicious because they kept saying things like 'we are not here to defraud you, we are here to protect you'. It turned out defrauding me was exactly what they were doing.

"I had to confirm a few details and then they said I should check my business account had not be compromised. At that point I thought it seemed weird so I asked them how I knew the call was from RBS and they told me to look at the number on my phone and then to check it against the number in the debit card. These tied up exactly.

"They then went through every standing order and direct debit with me to buy them time then said they would need to open a new account and hold all my funds there.

"At that point I hung up and redialled the number and yes it was RBS fraud team. The scammers then called me back and said they would text me with a security number which they did and it came from the same RBS number, requesting a new log in for telephone banking."

Linda put the call on hold and rang her bank to check what she had been told was correct - only to find out she was in the middle of losing almost £50,000.

She said: "My my accounts had been cleared and they were about to clear the rest. Thankfully the bank immediately stopped the accounts.

"I was still on the phone to the fraudsters and told them in no uncertain terms what I thought of them!

"The scary thing is that the scammers were so convincing. You need to be so careful as it’s so easy to be taken for a ride."

Linda next went to her local branch in Largs to have the comfort of speaking to staff face to face and praised the workers there for their help.

Linda, owner of the LAH Travel in West Kilbride, was told that her accounts had bounced after being 'seriously withdrawn'.

She said: "After this experience I was fearful that my phone had spyware so when you phone the bank back you might get the scammers again.

"I put the phone down and phoned my bank manager and the only way I could be sure was by going to the branch.

"The bank were absolutely brilliant and as soon as I went in they managed to resolve matters.

"I was just glad I was switched as it would have been very easy to part with private banking security details."

RBS have now reported the crime to police.