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Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

Scammers have now started to rake up their victims list by sending a mail posing as an official
mail from Patricia Ferguson, Scotland's Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. The email tricks
innocent Internet users by requesting them to help in moving $40 million out of the United Kingdom
"for safekeeping". It even has the minister's original Edinburgh Address and a link to her website.

Sophos, a leading integrated threat management solutions provider, warns that this swindle is to
rob users of their personal information such as bank accounts numbers and passwords, so that the
fraudsters can commit identity frauds to steal money.

The email has "Greetings from Scotland" as the subject line and carries the following lines as a
part of it:
Please i want you to treat this in full confidentiality because i''m closely monitored by the rest
parliament members this is due to my status as the scottish minister for culture, tourism and
sports and i will hardly have the chance to communicate by phone or fax with you because it wil
lead to the outburst of this whole transaction to the entire scottish parliament, so there should
be no calls or sending of fax for now.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said "Not only are these scammers sullying
the name of Patricia Ferguson, but they are also trying to take advantage of people's temptation to
earn a small fortune for little effort. Internet criminals use a wide variety of tricks to try and
steal sensitive data from computer users in their attempts to empty the public's bank accounts"

This fraud mail is the new age variant of the dreaded 419 scams or the advance fee frauds. Named
after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code, these mails are said to have originated
in Nigeria in the 1980s. Most of the mails are related to lucrative oil contracts and other related
frauds that are often carried out in many African nations and from cities with large West African
populations like notably London, Amsterdam and Madrid.

The extent of damage would not be significant as most of the users outside Scotland would not have
heard of Patricia Ferguson. Other 419 e-mail scams that have made attempts to empty the public's
bank accounts include a mail from a persecuted widow of the late Nigerian head of state, an
associate of the massacred Nepalese royal family, and even a mail from an African astronaut
stranded on the Mir space station.

Cluley urges email users to be cautious when accessing unknown mails from their inboxes and
recommends updating their anti-virus and anti-spam software to defend against malicious spam and
viruses.

Related article: Spam Dominates E-mail

» SPAMfighter News - 10-06-2006

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