Email con artists are hoping you'll put the brakes on for their latest scam.
Researchers at the security firm Sophos came across an email campaign informing recipients that they've incurred a "Uniform Traffic Ticket" from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles for speeding on July 5 at 7:25 a.m.
Now, chances are you probably were not speeding through New York City that exact morning at that exact time. But the message appears to come from an @nyc.gov email address, which gives it at least a hint of credibility and could potentially scare victims into following its orders to open and print out the attached .zip file and mail it to "Town Court, Chatam Hall."
The attachment, like so many other online scams, contains a Trojan horse, identified as "Troj/Invo-Zip" that could allow attackers access to your Windows system and give them the ability to drop more malicious files on it.
Despite the geographical specificity of the scam, whoever is behind it is spreading it far and wide; Sophos' Facebook page contains comments from people in California, Thailand, Scotland, England and Australia who've received the phony ticket email.
"Got the email today," wrote Iain Wilson. "Since I live in Asia and have not been in NY in 18 years I laughed, assumed viral and deleted."
Whenever you come across an unsolicited email asking for money or urging you to download an attachment, follow Wilson's advice, assume it’s a scam and immediately delete it.
To proactively protect yourself, make sure you are running up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer. A list of anti-virus options can be found here.