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Uniform Traffic Ticket
Speeding Ticket in New York? What? By e-mail!? Is this a joke?!
Have you received a traffic violation ticket in an e-mail? Well if you have, now is the time to stop worrying about it, because it's not from the police. It's a stupid spam message, a scam.
A serious crime has been committed. However, crime is a serious matter and has victims. Murder, burglary, theft, fraud, these are things that we like the police to pursue. Unfortunately, the police have their time wasted by having to chase up motorists and users of recreational drugs, much to the disgust of folk who would much rather they we out catching crooks.
Anyway, can you spot the actual crime here?...
Delivery-date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 03:02:45 -0700
Received: faked-up as 03 Aug 2011 at 06:54
Subject: Uniform traffic ticket
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 13:54:42 +0700
Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
New York State --- Department of Motor Vehicles
UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET
Local Police Code
THE PERSON DESCRIBED ABOVE IS CHARGED AS FOLLOWS
Description of Violation
SPEED OVER 55 ZONE
TO PLEAD, PRINT OUT THE ENCLOSED TICKET AND SEND IT TO TOWN COURT, CHATAM HALL., PO BOX 117
Well I can tell you that in this particular case, the crime is fraud. It's nothing to do with road traffic, and is instead a crime of fraud, committed by online scamsters. The criminals are sending out these ridiculous messages in the vain hope that some poor gullible person will open the dreaded attachment. But why would you?
You might never have been to New York, and/or you might not drive a car, but maybe you feel that you want to have a look at the alleged "Ticket" in question? Well don't! There is no ticket! It's a scam!
Unfortunately, if you are silly enough to open the attachment ticket.zip , and if your computer is of the oldfashioned "Microsoftish" type and it's riddled full of security holes with all the wrong options set, your computer could end up catching a virus. See how to avoid a virus. Also see how to get rid of a virus
Once inside your computer, the malicious impostor software will attempt to steal your private details, impersonate you, send spam from your computer, and generally behave in an antisocial manner.
You can get this all cleaned up and sorted out, though. There is plenty of antivirus software available here.
These bogus police-tickets are going out all over the world, not just to New York. The spam senders that are doing this have no idea where you are. They send out these stupid messages to e-mail addresses which they've got by various nefarious means.
But how did it get to this? Do you have a car? Possibly. Have you ever been to New York? Probably not. Not everyone has. There is an ultimate fact which should have spared you such a problem: The police do not send traffic tickets by email! It's unlikely the police would know your e-mail address to send to, but even if they did, you would have a different address for each place, surely you would?. Then, you'd know what was coming in from where.
Other obvious fakeness:
The date is faked-up. The message is deliberately falsely dated so it looks like it came in a while back and you didn't notice.
The sender is faked-up. That's known as spoofing. It may look like it's come in from email@example.com but it hasn't. With these things, you can hit "reply" and it'll bounce, which generally means it was fake in the first place.
Then there's "The person described above is charged as follows". However, the person is not described.
The authorities are misdescribed too. "New York State Department of Motor Vehicles" , "Police Agency", "New York State Police", "Local Police Code", "Send it to Town Court", etc? Where are these people? Russia, probably.
It wouldn't surprise me if the rogues that sent these fake police messages are also sending these fake courier messages, such as this one that claims to have come from firstname.lastname@example.org ...
The parcel was sent your home address.
And it will arrive within 3 business day.
More information and the tracking number are attached in document below.
Copyright © 1994-2011 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. All rights reserved.
Except this has a faked-up time-signature that suggests it's from India. Again notice the attachment with .zip on the end.
Alright then, the parcel was sent to my home address? What is my home address? You don't know. A courier should know what the address is, or they wouldn't take the parcel to send.
Yet again, the excuse is the attachment, which is malware.
The moral of the story is: Don't be fooled by panicmail , and don't open attachments that are .zip , as they are generally something bad. There's some really stupid assumptions in the way .zip is implemented, and auto-executable things like that in the nonsense that is Microsoft Windows, are a menace.
See more antivirus measures and see how to defeat these things.
Other pages about the "Uniform Traffic Ticket" virus attack include...
Also see antivirus measures and panicmail and the Rogues Gallery