11 Jul 2011

Emailed ticket fake, attached virus real

Users of Yahoo Mail are being targeted by a phishing scheme that dupes victims via an email purportedly enclosing a traffic ticket, according to Lohud.com, a news source for the Lower Hudson Valley.

The local media outlet says New York police recently issued a warning regarding this nationwide computer security threat in which email users receive a message that appears to be a traffic ticket from a local department of motor vehicles agency. The body of the email provides fictitious details about the circumstances in which the supposed violation occurred, and instructs recipients to open an attached copy of the citation. The attached file actually contains a computer virus.

In the scam alert, New York State Police Sergeant Kern Swoboda said tickets are never issued through email, according to Lohud.com. Swoboda also said recipients of the malicious email should immediately delete it and not forward it on, even to law enforcement agencies. The New York Computer Crime Unit investigation of this scheme is ongoing.

Lohud.com also reports Swoboda urged users to employ antivirus software and exercise caution by only opening emails from known, trusted senders and changing passwords every 90 days.

The Internal Revenue Service recently warned users of malicious emails appearing to come from that agency and instructed recipients to forward these messages to phishing@irs.gov.