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FBI warns of mining accident scam

Exploiting public sympathy

The FBI is warning internet users to be on the look out for a fraudulent email soliciting money for the only survivor of a mine accident in the US last week.

The email purports to be written by a doctor at the hospital where the miner is being treated and describes the condition of the survivor and the financial assistance that is needed for a full recovery.

The accident cost the lives of 12 miners and there was just one survivor. He is still hospitalised and in a partial coma, according to news reports. Rescue attempts were heavily covered by US media and the story stayed in the news spotlight for several days partly because initial reports of survivors turned out to be incorrect.

"The FBI takes these matters seriously and is working with other law enforcement and private industry partners to identify the person responsible," the agency said in a statement yesterday. "Anyone who has received an email of this nature is asked to contact the FBI's IC3 [Internet Crime Complaint Center] via www.ic3.gov."

The bureau also repeated its standard advice to refrain from opening or responding to unsolicited emails and to verify thoroughly any requests for money or personal information received via email before responding.


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