Online fraudsters attempted to con journalists at a regional daily into paying non-existent parking fines – unaware that they had previously reported on the scam.
The emails carry the letter header of a genuine company called UK Parking Control Limited, but the firm has confirmed it would never send emails in this way and that it had been targeted by scammers.
The Mail had previously run a warning about people on its patch being targeted by the scam.
The email sent to targets by the scammers
Mail reporter Kit Sandeman said: “If I hadn’t read the story about this being a scam on the Mail website, I may well have clicked on it.
“It looks really convincing, and shows that you have to be on your guard against cyber crime 24/7 these days.”
In a warning to readers, deputy editor Julie Crouch said: “It’s worrying for people in Burton and South Derbyshire because a lot of people won’t know that this is a scam.
“If you can, please let other people know about this because it would be easy to fall for, and it could have really negative consequences.”