01 Aug Scammers Target New York Drivers
New York drivers beware: Fake email messages claiming to be from “The NY DMV” have targeted state residents, threatening that their licenses will be revoked if they don’t respond within forty-eight hours.
This is a hoax, and those who receive it and follow the links in the message could expose their computers to malicious software. The real “NY DMV”—the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles—issued an alert about the scam as soon as it became aware of it.
Dangerous Phishing Scam
The email is an example of a common internet fraud scheme known as “phishing,” in which someone attempts to trick a consumer into giving up potentially valuable personal information, such as a Social Security or credit card number. In this case, the email claims that the recipient has “several outstanding traffic violations” and that the recipient’s drivers license will be revoked if he or she doesn’t pay unspecified fines within forty-eight hours.
Recipients who clicked on either of the links included in the email—one to make a payment, the other to dispute the fictitious “tickets”—were directed to pages that tried to hack their computers.
Identifying Scams: What to Look For
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not attempt to collect fines this way, nor does it threaten consumers with license revocation by email. It’s not always easy to spot a fraudulent message like this, but you should always approach mail from new senders with suspicion. (And you should treat strange messages from known senders the same way.)
Here are just a few things to watch for:
- Is the message personalized? This one was addressed “Dear Driver.” The real DMV knows your name and will use it. So will Amazon, FedEx, or any other legitimate source.
- Is a real account number, order number, or other specific item referenced? If you’ve had recent dealings with this organization, check your records. If the numbers don’t match or no reference is given in the email, it’s likely a scam.
- Does the “from” address match the purported source? Look at the source of the email address. A message from the DMV will come from an official domain address, such as “@dmv.nys.gov.” A message from “@yahoo.com” or “@dddmmmvvv.com” is almost certainly fraudulent.
- Don’t accept links at face value: The link address that appears in the message can be easily faked. Hover your mouse over the link—without clicking—for a moment and see what link appears in the lower left corner of your browser. If it’s not the same, it’s probably a scam.
- Were you expecting this message or attachment? If not, be very careful. Even if you know the source, it’s best to double-check before clicking on any surprise links or attached files. If you don’t, the “surprise” you get might be very unpleasant.
- Does the message ask for personal information? Any message asking for financial information, a Social Security number, or even your phone number is probably a scam. This is especially obvious when a message asks for your name or address; if the sender really has a legitimate relationship with you, shouldn’t he or she already know your information?
When in Doubt, Delete
It’s not known how many individuals the scam email tricked, but the DMV received calls about it from New York City, Albany, and Syracuse. A spokesman noted that the scam email seems to have come in two forms: Some users were infected with a virus that simply began tracking their browser use; in other cases, the virus actively searched for personal information.
Anyone who receives this email is urged to delete it.
New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer
This scam had innocent victims. That’s often true with traffic tickets, too. While many tickets are written for justifiable offenses, the attorneys at the Law Office of James Medows have seen many situations in which a motorist was ticketed incorrectly or unjustly or where excess fines or hidden fees were added.
We’ve helped many drivers get their improper tickets voided or corrected in their favor, and we’ve saved our clients a tremendous amount—not just in fines, but in license points and future insurance premiums.
If you need help understanding or challenging a traffic ticket, call us at 917-856-1247 or leave your contact information in the form below to schedule a free consultation.