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Email Hoax Alert

January 5, 2001 

Internet users have been urged to ignore a bizarre hoax email which warns of criminals phoning people at work to confirm they are not at home and then breaking into their houses.

Glasgow City Council and Glasgow University are among employers who have alerted staff to the false chain email.

It claims workers, particularly women, should be on guard if they receive a telephone call from someone claiming to represent the Post Office,

The caller will then ask the person to confirm their postcode and when this is done, the caller will say the person has become eligible for a gift voucher in appreciation of their co-operation.

They then ask for the person's home address details, the email alleges, and their homes are burgled soon after by thieves who guess the property is empty.

In a separate ruse, contained in the same email, people are said to receive calls from a technician from an American telecommunications company.

The technician asks the person to carry out a simple test using the dialling buttons on their telephone and then hang up.

The bogus email warns that anyone who does will have given the fraudster full access to their line allowing them to place long-distance calls and chat-lines and bill the victim's account.

The email then asks anyone who receives it to pass the information it contains on to colleagues and friends.

However, a Post Office spokesman said the email was nothing more than a chain email and nothing it described had in fact occurred. He said: "This is a chain email that's doing the rounds. It's just not true and the Post Office has not been calling people.

"There's not been a single instance of anything it says actually happening."

And a spokeswoman for Glasgow University said: "We found out pretty quickly that this was a hoax. One of our staff checked it and said it had all the classic signs of a hoax."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "As a matter of course we would alert our staff to issues regarding their personal safety. We circulated this e-mail giving clear indication that the Post Office was not conducting any surveys.

"The council also has strict guidelines on accepting gifts as part of the code of conduct for employees and an employee would not be able to accept such an offer."

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©2001 Newsquest Media Group. A Gannett Company

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