You might want to think twice before opening up that email from your local police department.
A new scam posing as a speeding ticket has hit at least three residents in Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. The ticket arrives via email and contains a link that loads malicious code onto the user’s computer.
The scam prompted the local police department to issue an alert last week.
The Simi Valley Police Department in California issued a warning about a similar type of scam on Monday.
What makes the scam particularly alarming is that the emails contain accurate traffic data, including street names, speed limits and actual driving speeds. The people who received the emails were actually speeding at the time and location noted in the scam emails.
Since the emails contain legitimate information, people are tricked into thinking they’re genuine and are more likely to click through the email.
The police suspect that the traffic data is being obtained through a traffic app that tracks phone GPS data, though exactly which app isn’t clear.
Although the email requests payment within five days, no mechanism is in place to receive the fines. Instead, a link on the email that says it contains a photo of the victim’s license plate loads malware onto the user’s device when clicked. The message doesn’t actually include a photo of the person’s license plate.
The alert from the police department reminds people that citations are never issued through email or in the form of an email attachment.
Source: Tredyffrin Police Department