ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 2, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 27

Email crooks drag CB into lottery scam

By Malik Gunatilleke

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is conducting an investigation into the circulation of a fraudulent email claiming that the Central Bank is giving recipients a lottery prize of US $1 million. The Central Bank issued a media statement to various newspapers early this week warning recipients not to respond to this email and began an investigation into account numbers and various details provided in the email.

The email requests recipients to contact the ‘Lottery office in Nigeria’ and make inquiries about their tax and account activation fee to enable the lucky recipients to collect the funds. The email also provides the recipients with Bank names, branches, system transaction codes and the Hatton National Bank (HNB) Account Number 0220018927 to which the activation fee is to be deposited.

Information on Central Bank net profit is also given in the email to certify its authenticity while the email states that the senders name is that of a Central Bank official. However, the Central Bank denied all responsibility for the fraudulent email. Communications Department Director S.J.A. Handagama who issued the statement advising recipients not to fall prey to such gimmicks, told The Sunday Times that these emails were commonly received by various recipients but this was the first time that the Central Bank as well as a Central Bank official had been mentioned.

“We get complaints about these sorts of emails all the time but this is the first time that the bank’s name has been directly aassociated with the spam email,” he said. However, Mr. Handagama said no action except issuing the statement had been taken against the email so far although investigations will be conducted by the Central Bank Financial Investigations Unit.

HNB Human Resources Manager said that HNB had not been informed about the fraudulent email and could not have taken any action on it as yet. He later said top officials at HNB had been informed of the email while investigations will be carried out early next week into the matter.

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