Sussex Police apologised yesterday after it accidentally sent out a hoax scam warning to people signed up to its community policing alerts.
The email contained a warning to people not to fall for a courier bringing unordered flowers and wine then asking for a card payment for £3.50 for a “delivery verification charge”.
The hoax said the delivery driver would in fact be stealing the recipient’s card details so their account could be charged thousands of pounds again.
But within hours of the email being sent out yesterday morning, another one alerting people to the fact it was a hoax was sent out, and apologising for having not checked it carefully before issuing.
The second email read: “The advice about a scam relating to credit card fraud was circulated through community messaging in good faith after the information was sent to one of the county’s Neighbourhood Policing teams.
“It appears to be a historic scam from abroad and we have no knowledge of any reports in Sussex. We apologise for insufficient verification before the details were circulated by us.”
The hoax is listed on the Snopes website, which debunks internet scams and rumours, under the heading Daze of Wine and Roses.
It says: “The victim’s account quoted above began circulating on the Internet in mid-October 2008. While many of the forwards now identify the defraudment as ‘occurred in the North Vancouver Area’ or ‘happened to our friend who lives in North Vancouver,’ in actuality the crime took place in Sydney, Australia over three days in October 2008.
“The thief was apprehended a few weeks later during a traffic stop on the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway and charged with ten counts of fraud.”
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