South Yorkshire Police’s Fraud Co-ordination team has recently been made aware of the fraudulent email, which tells people they must pay a £25 fine for failing to pay a fee for using their vehicle on a specific road.
The email from fraudsters purporting to be from HM Courts and Tribunals Service threatens that the amount payable will increase to £50 if the fine is not paid within 14 days.
People are then asked to click on a link to pay the fine, which fraudsters use to lure victims into giving away personal details and passwords.
South Yorkshire Police cyber protect officer, Dannielle Lee, said: “This scam email is a typical example of phishing, where cyber criminals try to trick you into clicking on the links within their scam email or text message or give away sensitive information.
“These messages may look authentic, but they are malicious. Once clicked, you may be sent to pay money directly into the fraudsters’ bank account, you might have nasty viruses downloaded onto your computer, or your passwords may be stolen.”
She added: “Spotting scam emails is becoming increasingly difficult as they look so professional.”
She added: “If you’re not sure whether the email you have received is genuine, contact the place it claims to be from via their official website or using a known phone number – not via any links within the email.”
An email is likely to be a scam if you are warned that there is a limited time to respond, and there are threats of fines or other negative consequences if you do not comply.
Scam messages often uses threatening language.
They are often themed around a current event, with criminals often exploiting current news stories, big events or specific times of year, such as tax reporting, to make the scam seem relevant.
Suspicious emails should be forwarded to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service at email@example.com.
Anyone who has lost money through a scam should report it to Action Fraud on 0330 123 2040.
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