Police have warned Canberrans of an email scam asking drivers to cough up money for negligent driving and infecting computers with a virus.
The email claims to be from the Australian Federal Police and asks people to pay a $150 traffic infringement notice.
Police have urged recipients to delete the email immediately without clicking on any attachments.
If links in the email are clicked the computer is infected with malware, stopping recipients from using their device. Ransomware is then activated and the recipient is asked to pay thousands of dollars to reactivate their computer.
AFP national coordinator of cybercrime, Adrian Norris said anyone who received the email should delete it immediately.
“This email has taken off widely today and looks legitimate, and many people have been compromised, so I would urge people to be vigilant,” Superintendent Norris said.
“The AFP never sends out traffic infringement notices via email, so if you have received an email that purports to be from the AFP and have doubt about its authenticity, do not make a payment or provide personal details.
“Payment of this traffic Infringement notice will not go to the AFP – your money will be going to scammers overseas.”
Superintendent Norris said the email looked legitimate and contained AFP branding.
He said the email might be sent from addresses including trafficInfringement.afp.org and trafficInfringement.afp.com
Superintendent Norris said the scam was a timely reminder to ensure anti-virus software was up-to-date and advised email recipients to consider running a virus scan of the computer in case it had been infected.
Canberra driver Anthony Hill was one many residents to receive the scam email Tuesday morning.
On first inspection the Yarralumla resident, who has recently returned from overseas, was shocked and surprised the correspondence wasn’t via post.
On closer inspection, he realised the email was dated 2011.
“At first I was shocked, I was taken aback,” he said.
“The date of the infringement was 7/4/2011 to be paid 10/05/2011.
“Fortunately I have a Mac – my computer advisor told me it was probably a Windows virus. My computer blocked access to the link on the email.”
After realising the email was a scam, Mr Hill contacted police.
“They’ve had a lot of calls,” he said.
“What worries you is how they get people’s details.”
People who believe they have received the scam email should report it to the Australian Cyber Crime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) via www.acorn.gov.au or ScamWatch via www.scamwatch.gov.au
Stay Smart Online offers an alert service for online threats including scams via www.staysmartonline.gov.au
Information from Emma Kelly, Canberra Times reporter