CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has issued a warning to summer travelers to be wary of a scam in which impostors send emails to collect traffic fines on behalf of a state department of motor vehicles.
The office says consumers might receive an email demanding payment within 48 hours. The impostor threatens to revoke the license of anyone who fails to comply.
“Many people travel this time of year and explore new areas,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Sometimes this journey results in a traffic citation, however travelers must be cautious in handling any unexpected email. Just because you traveled to a particular state or received a ticket does not automatically mean you should respond to such an email.”
The AG's office says such emails are nothing more than a phishing scam. Links contained in the email, which supposedly allow the recipient to plead guilty or refute the ticket, actually contain malware that exposes the consumer’s computer to viruses.
The AG's office also says it’s important to remember that all electronic communication should be handled carefully and attentively.
Officials say consumers should also:
* Confirm such emails are legitimate by contacting the agency in question.
* Keep an eye out for signs of phishing such as poor spelling and grammar or the web address not matching the legitimate website.
* Not open unexpected attachments. They may contain malware.
* Never send sensitive or personal information online. Legitimate government agencies and businesses will not ask for such information via email.
* Use strong passwords to protect personal information.
Those with questions are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.