INTERNET crooks have been using the identity of Hyndburn MP Greg Pope to try to con cash out of people.
Mr Pope was horrified when somebody forwarded an e-mail to him claiming to be from "the desk of Gregory Pope Esquire MP, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, London, United Kingdom." In fact, Mr Pope is NOT chairman of the committee, although he is a member.
The e-mail asks people to provide personal information including details of their bank accounts.
Furious Mr Pope said he had been contacted by people in America and Ireland who had received the same e-mail, which is believed to originate from Africa.
He said: "I am concerned that somebody is trying to use my name. I am even more concerned that they are trying to abuse the name of the House of Commons and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The vast majority of people who have received this unsolicited e-mail will see it as junk and an obvious scam. In the meantime I have been getting in touch with the House of Commons computer people to see what they can do."
The e-mail also provides a link to the Guardian politics website, where it invites people to view Greg's political biography, and includes telephone numbers and a "private House of Commons" e-mail address.
- The e-mail reads as follows:
"NOTE: From the desk of (Gregory Pope, Esq MP), Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, London, United Kingdom. I have contacted you to partake in business that favours both of us. Presently the Contract Investigation Committee, London, United Kingdom, under the House of Commons, has just reached a new resolution to pay all their pending foreign contractors this beginning of the year 2005. So I will demand for your information to enlist you among the unpaid contractors that will be paid this year. And after your information has been alleged and acknowledged by the board of directors in charge the sum of £10 million will be paid into any bank account which you provide.
"NOTE: For your assistance in this transaction I am willing to compensate you with 10 per cent of the total funds after conclusion of the transaction.''
The e-mail then asks for information including telephone and fax numbers and occupation. It says the transaction will be completed in 15 working days.