The webmail account of justice secretary Jack Straw has been broken into by fraudsters.
The hackers sent out emails that claimed to be from the former home and foreign secretary, claiming that he was stranded in Nigeria and in desperate need of $3,000 to settle expenses get a flight home.
The Daily Telegraph reported that constituents, Ministry of Justice officials, Labour Party members and council bosses all received the bogus assistance emails.
The emails were sent from his Hotmail account and claimed that Straw had lost his wallet whilst in Nigeria promoting a charity called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism.
Straw told the Telegraph: “I started getting phone calls from various constituents asking if I was really in Nigeria needing $3,000. It was an issue for constituents, not the Government. We are checking all that and I am assured there's no evidence that confidentiality of constituents was affected.
“The internet is wonderful in many ways, but these gangs put a lot of effort in because they make money from it. In a lot of cases they do get people to cough up. But I think it was so obviously ridiculous that I could go off trekking in Africa and I would lose my wallet."