Email from HM Treasury? Just another scam

Filed Under: SophosLabs, Spam

Over the past 24 hours we have seen a flurry of emails purporting to be from George Osborne MP, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer.

With reference to supposed stalled international fund transfers, the messages attempt to lure recipients into making contact with the fraudsters, in a classic 419 style scam.

We have seen at least two flavours of these scam messages:

Of course, none other than the UK Prime Minister has instructed for all genuine claims to be paid:

The office of the new Prime Minister has mandated me to ensure that all genuine claim and transfers are paid.The Government of the U.K took this major step in addressing these problems of all stalled transfers as a result of the global financial crisis that has affected banks by establishing the HM Treasury Debt office to take over payment responsibility on behalf of all banks operating in the UK.

I particularly like the advice dispensed near the end of some of the messages:

As Chancellor of the Exchequer (HM Treasury) in the United Kingdom, I want to assure you that your transfer will now be processed through the simple, transparent and authoritative means where you will not be required to pay any unauthorized fees. Please discontinue any form of contact with all those you have been dealing with before now, no matter the nature of your relationship with any of these crooks, including your local attorney. My intention is to quickly reactivate and sort out your transfer without any distraction.

If the contents of these messages were not enough to convince you of their legitimacy, perhaps the email addresses are?

Don't be an easy target. Even if you do not fall for the social engineering in these sort of scams, do not hit reply and make contact with the fraudsters. At best you will just confirm for them that your email address is valid. At worst you may open yourself up for further attacks. In the fraudsters' own words:

Please you should not allow yourself to be deceived and extorted anymore.


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4 Responses to Email from HM Treasury? Just another scam

  1. Robert White · 1406 days ago

    Folks, this and all of the other scams that you get in your e-mail should be handled the same simple way. If you don't know the person that sent the email to you click "Delete". If you do know the person that the e-mail is from go to your address book and send them an email asking if they sent you anything about what the email you received was about. Then proceed to either delete it or find out from your friend what it is all about. It is always best to just delete any email that you don't know who the sender is. Common sense is the best policy.

  2. jane · 1406 days ago

    You'd have to be a bit dim to think this was for you!

  3. John Doe · 1406 days ago

    I just click ' SPAM " .... as I get these kinds of things all the time...

  4. Sizzle69 · 1406 days ago

    Ha ha.... To think the Tory government are ready to give us anything!! The email would be asking for money if it was real.

    But then at the same time it does show how people in this country actually expect something for nothing. Sitting there waiting for money to just drop on the doorstep (or mailbox).

    I've created my own;

    "That money you're expecting for doing nothing with your life, that's sitting in a cloud with Jimi Hendrix, who caused the global financial crisis, is ready to be released to you. Now hand over your bank details and Jimi will wire the funds directly to your account via a vicious wah guitar solo".

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About the author

Fraser is one of the Principal Virus Researchers in SophosLabs. He has been working for Sophos since 2006, and his main interest is in web related threats.