Institute in warning over cancer email scam

A health watchdog has issued a warning over a scam email suggesting people may have cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the email was “likely to cause distress” and it had referred the matter to the police.

The email, which has the header “important blood analysis result” or similar, tells people that Nice has been sent a sample of their blood for further research.

It says the person’s white blood cell count is very low and there is a “suspicion” of cancer. People are then told to print out an attachment and visit their doctor.

One suggestion is that those behind the fake email may be trying to obtain password information for people’s email accounts.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, 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 said people should delete the email without opening it or clicking on any of the links.

Nice said it could not confirm how many people have received the email but it believes “distribution was widespread” based on the “dozens” of calls it has received from across the country.