Fraudulent emails sent by hackers pretend to be police

Fraudulent emails sent by hackers pretend to be police
Credit: Brett Jordan/ Unsplash

The Federal Police have put out a warning of suspicious emails being sent from fake executive police and judiciary accounts as part of a money-swindling scam.

Fraudsters are misusing the identities of police officers and magistrates to trick recipients into sending money by falsely accusing them of having committed a crime, adding that they have to pay a fine as part of ‘an immediate collection or an out-of-court settlement,’ otherwise risk prosecution.

“Unfortunately, people sometimes pay this so-called fine. Unjustly, because the money goes straight to the fraudsters,” the warning from the Federal Police reads.

“Many citizens have reported receiving suspicious e-mails from executives of the police and the judiciary. New names keep popping up, most recently that of federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw.” Most often, the mail is entitled ‘Your Summons’ (‘Uw oproeping’ in Dutch).

Some mails are seemingly sent in the name of the commissioner-general of the Federal Police, the first chief commissioner Marc De Mesmaeker, or in the name of Catherine De Bolle, the current director of Europol.

An example of the fraudulent email. Credit: Federal Police

More recently, emails are being sent under the name Eric Snoeck, director-general of the Federal Judicial Police. Other departments and names of police and judicial officers are also being misused by the fraudsters.

Recognising frauds

Fines are never issued by email the police said, stressing that any emails asking for such action can be written off as fake. Usually, the email address used by the fraudsters indicates the email is a scam.

‘If the address looks fake or strange (e.g. federalepolitie@hsruhaw.com or federalpolice@gmail.com), there is a good chance it is an attempted scam, as police forces never use a free e-mail address.’

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People who have received emails from unknown addresses that they suspect could be fraudulent have been asked not to respond to these fake e-mails and messages, and to report them to the police via this form, or by sending a copy of the fraudulent mail to verdacht@safeonweb.be.

Those who sent money after receiving such an email should notify their bank and Card Stop to have all cards blocked.

Modified phone charging cables

The police also put out a warning on Tuesday to notify people in Belgium of a charging cable being sold online that contains a chip that allows an external person can take control of computers from a distance.

“On the outside of the cable there is nothing special to see, it is identical to the cable you know. But when you open the USB plug, you see a small chip that allows the hacker to send instructions. This allows hackers to take control and gets access to the contents of the PC,” Commissioner Olivier Bogaert, a cyber security specialist with the Federal Police, said.

The police have urged people to buy new cables from legitimate stores rather than buying them online for a bargain price.


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