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30 July 2017 - Fraudulent e-mails misusing the UN name

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The United Nations has been made aware of a growing number of correspondences, being circulated via e-mail, from Internet web sites, and via regular mail or facsimile, falsely stating that they are issued by, or in association with the United Nations and/or its officials. These scams, which may seek to obtain money and/or in many cases personal details from the recipients of such correspondence, are fraudulent.

The United Nations strongly recommends that the recipients of such solicitations exercise extreme caution in respect of such solicitations. Financial loss and identity theft could result from the transfer of money or personal information to those issuing such fraudulent correspondence. Victims of such scams may also report them to their local law enforcement authorities for appropriate action. 

UNICs increasingly draw cases of fraudulent e-mails to the attention of UN Headquarters.  DPI recommends the following approach to UNICs.

  1. For cases that are clearly fraudulent and when the recipient has not responded to the perpetrator by, inter alia, providing personal information or transferring funds, UNICs could use the following standard text prepared by DPI Public Inquiries Unit and the Office of Legal Affairs to respond to the individuals who will have drawn the UNIC’s attention to such hoax e-mails:

"Dear Mr. [Ms.] _________

We refer to your e-mail message of [include date] to [your office name] regarding an e-mail message that you have received.

Unfortunately, the e-mail message that you have received appears to be fraudulent.  The United Nations is not involved in the arrangement described in the e-mail message that you have received, and the use of the UN name [if the UN emblem is also used, please say "the use of the UN name and emblem"] in this instance is not authorized.  Accordingly, we suggest that you do not respond to the e-mail or take any further action in relation to this request. 

We thank you for bringing this case to our attention.

Best regards,"

When such a message is sent (to which the hoax e-mail is attached), the UNIC should blind copy (in bcc) the following e-mail addresses in the UN Office of Legal Affairs (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and the ICS Desk Officer covering your region.

  1. Regarding cases when

(a) It is unclear whether a particular case is a scam;

(b) If the recipient has responded to the perpetrator and, inter alia, provided personal information; or

(c) If your UNIC estimates that these hoax e-mails are especially damaging to the UN's reputation (if people have already been scammed, for instance);

It is recommended that the UNIC transmit e-mails that fall in this category to the General Legal Division of the Office of Legal Affairs, to Ms. Maria Vicien-Milburn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Ms. Antigoni Axenidou(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), with a copy to Marc Porret and Akiko Niihara (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and to your ICS desk officer.  If you are not certain on how to proceed, please contact your desk officer first.

Webpage on hoax e-mails

UNICs are encouraged to create a link from their websites towards the following UN webpage about e-mail scams:  http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/fraudalert/index.shtml (in French on http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/fraudalert/index.shtml, in Spanish on http://www.un.org/es/aboutun/fraudalert/)

Last modified onSunday, 30 July 2017 15:17
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