It seems that even intelligent people can be scammed by the scammers, according to this article from The Times.
The phones began to ring in Jack Straw's constituency office late last week, and the questions that the callers asked were always the same: was the Justice Secretary really stranded in Africa with no wallet? And did he really need $3,000 to get home?
No, and no, replied baffled officials. It was some time before they realised the truth - that Mr Straw, who as Home Secretary once launched a National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to crack down on computer hackers, had himself become the victim of Nigerian internet fraudsters.
The culprits had gained access to a Hotmail account that Mr Straw used to reply to questions from voters in his Blackburn constituency, by the simple expedient of sending a phishing email claiming that the email account would be suspended unless a reply was sent.
Perhaps unwisely, somebody in Mr Straw's office fell for it and sent a reply last Thursday. This gave the fraudsters enough information to hack into the account and glean the names of hundreds of Mr Straw's contacts in his online address book, ranging from Labour party members to council bosses.
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Soon afterwards, bogus emails with the official heading The Right Hon Jack Straw MP began pouring into e-mail inboxes around Blackburn.
Startled voters found themselves reading a personal plea from the Justice Secretary for help after finding himself stranded while visiting Lagos, the Nigerian capital, for a project called Empowering Youth To Fight Racism.
“I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept," the fake Mr Straw wrote.
“I would like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently to settle my hotel bills and get myself back home.”
This week Mr Straw confirmed the incident, in an interview with his local newspaper, the Lancashire Telegraph, but attempted to make light of it.
“I started getting phone calls from various constituents asking if I was really in Nigeria needing $3,000.
“It was an issue for constituents, not the Government. We are checking all that and I am assured there’s no evidence that confidentiality of constituents was affected.”
He added that there were no security issues relating to his Cabinet post as the attempted fraud related to addresses stored in his Blackburn email account rather than a ministerial one.
“A lot of work goes on by the serious organised crime organisation in this country," philosophised Mr Straw.
“The internet is wonderful in many ways, but these gangs put a lot of effort in because they make money from it.
“In a lot of cases they do get people to cough up. But I think it was so obviously ridiculous that I could go off trekking in Africa and I would lose my wallet.”
One constituent is believed to have replied to the email, but - in what may be a blow to Mr Straw's self esteem - nobody offered any money.
The account was later suspended by Microsoft officials.