Hackers leave Welsh toy maker Si-lwli ‘fighting to survive’ after £18k is stolen in sophisticated scam

A small Welsh language toy company has been left ‘fighting for survival’ after falling victim to a ‘sophisticated fraud’ that saw hackers steal £18,000 of funds.

The company Si-lwli makes soft toys that sing Welsh language songs and nursery rhymes for young children.

The company fell victim to a scam in which its emails for an order were intercepted and altered. The hackers then siphoned off money meant to pay for new toys being made in China. The firm had arranged for its newest launch, a red dragon called Draigi, to me manufactured in China.

Awena Walkden, co-founder of Si-lwli told BBC Radio Cymru that “someone had hacked the factory network.”

“It seems that someone has been looking at each email and stopping some – and changing some information within the email,” she said.

Changes were made to the payment account details, so the money for the order never reached the Chinese manufacturers. The couple had to, instead, hand over a further £18,000 for the Chinese firm to release new toys.

“There’s no way of getting the money back, it’s absolutely awful,” added Walkden who said that the police had been unable to help, as the fraud had taken place in China.

“The impact on you personally just can’t be measured. I’ve learn an awfully expensive and hard lesson. It has left us in a terrible situation.”

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