Malicious email left Norfolk councillor fearing he was facing a second battle with cancer
17:44 25 March 2014
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A malicious email left a Norfolk councillor, who is receiving treatment for cancer, fearing he had been dealt a second blow - another type of the disease.
John Bracey, Broadland District councillor and the authority’s older people’s champion is the latest victim of a spam email purporting to come from a respected national health organisation - and he has told his story to stop others from falling victim to the vicious hoax.
The email, claiming to be from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) told him a blood test had suggested he had worrying signs of cancer and that he should contact his GP.
Mr Bracey, Conservative councillor for Sprowston East, said: “I was ploughing through my emails on Sunday when I came across one which said it was from NICE.
“I’m on the Norfolk health overview and scrutiny committee, so I know what they are about and thought it might be something of interest.
“I opened it, and it was a rather horrid email telling me that a blood sample strongly suggested I had cancer and that I should contact my surgery.
“I am currently receiving treatment for cancer and have had my prostate removed. When I saw this email I thought ‘this is a double blow’. It shook me up.”
Mr Bracey said, following the initial shock, he started to think more rationally and questioned why a national organisation such as NICE would have any detail on his blood samples.
He said: “I had a word with one of my fellow councillors, we put it into Google and we saw the whole kaboodle about this scam email.
“It was a horrible hoax and they certainly hit the target with me. I just want to get the message across to other people about this email to stop that happening to them.”
NICE are aware of the email and has reported the issue to the police.
Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: “A spam email purporting to come from NICE is being sent to members of the public regarding cancer test results.
“This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that ‘test results’ indicate they may have cancer.
“This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.”
NICE is advising people who have received the email - the subject line of which is important blood analysis result - to delete it without opening it and not to click on any links.
• Have you fallen victim to a scam? Tell us your story by calling crime reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org