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Politics Justice Minister says fake online accounts in her name used to solicit money from constituents

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has called in the RCMP after fraudsters created fake LinkedIn and parliamentary e-mail accounts in her name to lure money from constituents in the minister’s Vancouver Granville riding.

David Taylor, the minister’s communications director, told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday that Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s office became aware of the scam after some constituents alerted her office about “suspicious communications.”

The Justice Minister’s real LinkedIn and parliamentary e-mail accounts were not hacked or compromised, her office said, but the RCMP, the Justice Department’s security team, the Vancouver Police and the Privy Council Office were immediately alerted about the online impersonation.

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“We became aware of a fake LinkedIn account under the minister’s name last Friday after some constituents received suspicious communications from someone claiming to be the minister and alerted our constituency office,” Mr. Taylor said.

“We have also become aware of a fake e-mail account under the minister’s name that resembles a parliamentary e-mail account. This is a so-called ‘spoof’ account that does not belong to the minister, but appears to be an official account," he said.

Mr. Taylor said LinkedIn committed to removing the fake account while the bogus parliamentary e-mail is under investigation. The LinkedIn account was a “classic phishing expedition” to lure e-mails and entice business deals, he said. The bogus LinkedIn account was still online as of Wednesday morning.

The fake parliamentary e-mail – traced to @main.dannix.co.uk – is an unsophisticated attempt to obtain money and appears to be written by someone with a poor grasp of English. The person purporting to be Canada’s Justice Minister says she is at the United Nations and needs $457,000 in Chinese currency to help an unnamed firm from China that had helped obtain a “huge victory for Canada from the United Nations Security Council.”

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