By Sarah SmithA common tactic for those on the receiving end of a bad news email is to read it over and over again, looking for signs that it may be a hoax.
But the latest example came from a UK-based online news agency, which has been caught out by a particularly damaging hoax.
A man calling himself Mr. Frugal wrote on Facebook that he was planning to send an email on a new business opportunity for a small business in the UK and that his wife and daughter were coming to visit.
He added that he would be posting the emails as soon as they were received and that the family would not be returning.
The message was received as the British government reported that the NHS was experiencing its worst winter in a decade.
But it was later discovered that the person who was sending the email was using an alias to impersonate a person claiming to be Mr. B.A.B.R.G., which stands for the British Association for the Rehabilitation of Gambling.
Mr. B.’s Facebook page, which was also shared widely, featured pictures of the fake company’s logo and its slogan: “I need to find a way to survive on $40 a week.”
Mr. Fructified was caught up in a massive scam.
The man claimed to be a medical professional with experience in the field of mental health and he claimed that he had the qualifications and expertise to create a business based on a simple formula: “How many of you would like to work as a dentist?”
He posted that he hoped the business would help people living with mental illness, so they would not have to spend hours on the phone every day and that he could use his knowledge of dentistry to help the poor.
He also mentioned that he planned to use his dental skills to “rebuild society” by creating a “budgie-style” dentistry school.
Mr Fructification claimed that the business was based on the principle of ‘sustainable living,’ and that it would pay a living wage of $40 per week and provide benefits including healthcare, dental, vision and hearing aid.
The hoaxer claimed to have received more than 6,000 Facebook messages and emails since the email began circulating in February.
The UK-wide response to the email came as the NHS recorded its worst fall in more than 40 years.
Mr B. also claimed that his family would be coming to the UK to visit the company.
Mr C. wrote: “Dear Mr.
Frugal, I would like you to come and visit me in the U.K. on April 30th to learn from me and my son, and hopefully make a dent on your own.
I hope you enjoy it.
“Thank you for your time, and I look forward to seeing you soon. “
“Yours faithfully, “C. C. R.””
The British Medical Association’s chief executive said that the hoax was a serious problem for patients and NHS services. “
Yours faithfully, “C. C. R.
“The British Medical Association’s chief executive said that the hoax was a serious problem for patients and NHS services.
He added that the organisation would look into the incident and would ensure that such incidents were properly reported to authorities.
The British government has not responded to the claims by Mr Fructifier, and the BBC has not verified whether Mr. C.’s email was genuine.
We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure that this type of fraudulent activity is caught and prosecuted,” the spokeswoman said.