There is no limit to the depths cybercriminals will sink to rip us off. They use skimmers to steal credit and debit card data and ransomware to lock up our gadgets or encrypt sensitive files so they can charge us a fee to access our own information.
Just ruthless! Now, some shady criminals behind a phishing scam are pretending to be the police in hopes of reeling in more victims.
How the “negligent driving” malware scam works
People are receiving fraudulent emails claiming to be from the police. The email claims that the recipient was caught via traffic camera while driving negligently.
The email is supposedly serving as a traffic violation notice. The victim is told to click on a link within the email to read the full notification.
Warning! Do NOT click on the link, it is a phishing scam!
The scammer usually includes an obligatory traffic photo trying to make the email look official. Here is an example of what that looks like:
Image: Example of police traffic cam photo. (Source: Automotive.com)
There are a couple of things in this email that should tip-off the fact that it’s a scam.
First, since the photo is a generic image, you won’t see your vehicle in it. If this actually was an official photo showing your traffic violation, shouldn’t your car be seen in the image? Of course.
Secondly, if you were caught on traffic cam violating the law, how would officials know your email address? They can get your home address from your license plate, and maybe they have an email address on file but those can frequently change, which is one reason police never send violations via email.
Those are just a couple of easily spotted mistakes made by the scammers in this instance. Read on for more suggestions on spotting phishing scams.
How to spot phishing scams
- Be cautious with links – If you get an email or notification that you find suspicious, don’t click on its links. It’s better to type the website’s address directly into a browser than clicking on a link. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn’t what the link claims, do not click on it.
- Do an online search – If you get a notification like this one, you should do an online search on the topic. If it’s a scam, there are probably people online complaining about it and you can find more information. Search for something like “negligent driving email scam” and see what comes up as a result.
- Watch for typos – Phishing scams are infamous for having typos. If you receive an email or notification from a reputable company, it should not contain typos. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
- Check your online accounts – The site Have I Been Pwned allows you to check if your email address has been compromised in a data breach.
- Have strong security software – Having strong protection on your family’s gadgets is very important. The best defense against digital threats is strong security software.