Researchers at Sophos have discovered a "419" scam email which adopts the unusual cover story of claiming to be from a minister in Scotland’s devolved government.

The email has been turning up in people’s inboxes, apparently from the Scottish Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Patricia Ferguson.

Beyond the unusual person chosen to front the scam, the email adopts a classic cut-and-paste 419 scam tale, asking the recipient for help in moving the sum of $40 million out of the United Kingdom "for safekeeping."

The email comes complete with the minister’s correct Edinburgh address, and a link to the politician’s website. Only the reply address is obviously fake.

Anyone who falls for the tall tale with find themselves quickly out of pocket.

It’s hard to fathom the motivation for choosing a real figure other than the mild innovation that 419 scammers usually favour bogus Nigerian politicians nobody has heard of.

Equally, nobody outside Scotland will have heard of Patricia Ferguson. In fact, few inside Scotland have heard of her either – Scotland’s politicians are notoriously anonymous.