Belfast Telegraph

PSNI warning over 'new email scam' in Northern Ireland

Police have issued a warning over a new email scam which aims to obtain sensitive data from victims, including banking details and passwords.

Police say fraudsters are sending so-called phishing emails to personal and business email addresses in Northern Ireland.

The emails include an attachment which attempts to access sensitive information.

Detectives say local people and businesses should be “on their guard”.

They say the subject line contains the recipient’s name.

They have released a sample email.

Sample email:

“Hi, [name]!

I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me.

For instance, your address is: [real home address]

I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811

Best Wishes,”

Police say the stolen data is used by criminals for monetary gain.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: “The PSNI has been made aware of this scam by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and we want to warn local people to be on their guard.

“The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name. This attachment is thought to contain the Banking Trojan Ursniff/Gozi, hidden within an image in the document. The Ursniff Banking Trojan attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords. The data is then sold on by the criminals involved to make money.”

Police have shared the following tips:

  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages: Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider).
  • Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well.

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