We first started getting reports of phishing emails in August 2013 when people began contacting us to ask about emails they had received, claiming to be from us. These emails said that we would debit money from their Land Registry account. People who were receiving the phishing emails were understandably alarmed and confused, especially as many of them weren’t even Land Registry customers.
The emails asked the recipient to open an attached report to see details of the fees being charged. On doing this, recipients unwittingly enabled the download of malware, capable of stealing sensitive data stored on the contaminated PC.
Once we became aware of what was going on, we quickly made investigations which confirmed that it was a phishing incident trading on our reputation. We made sure there was clear advice on our website and signposted people to this advice via our social media channels. We also created a specific email address for people to send the suspicious emails to – firstname.lastname@example.org. We reported the incident to UK GovCERT, the central response team for government IT security incidents and will continue to monitor and change our advice should the need arise.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say where the scam emails originate from as they are probably caused by a spambot (malicious software on thousands of machines across the globe acting on central instructions to send out emails).
In the meantime, please remember that Land Registry will never ask you for personal information, security details or payment information by email. If you have any doubt that an email you receive from us is genuine, please do not follow any links or open any attachments, disclose any personal details, or respond to it. Please forward it to us at email@example.com then delete it.
For further information, read avoid and report internet scams and phishing.