A trojan bearing hoax email is circulating that falsely claims to be from the New Zealand police. The email has the subject “Notification from Police New_Zealand” and warns recipients that they are “under suspicion of financial machination.” The message also requests that recipients provide personal information via email or fax.
A news release on the New Zealand Police website states:
Police are investigating the email which does contain a trojan virus. The virus will be filtered out so long as computers have anti-virus software on their machines.
Members of the public who are receiving the email with the subject line – “Notification from Police New_Zealand” – should simply delete it and do not need to contact Police about the matter.
The purpose of this hoax email is apparently to trick people into inadvertently installing a trojan on their computers and providing sensitive personal information to scammers. Victims who believe the message is genuine may be panicked into providing information in an effort to clear their names. In 2005, a similar tactic was used to distribute a variant of the Sober worm. The worm was carried via emails, supposedly from the FBI or the CIA, that claimed recipients had been logged visiting illegal websites.
It is extremely unlikely that any law enforcement agency anywhere in the world would request personal information from someone under investigation via an unsolicited email. Emails that make such requests should be treated with the utmost suspicion. If you receive such an email, do not open any attachments that arrive with the message, do not follow any links in the message and do not provide any personal information.