The state Department of Motor Vehicles has learned that some people have received emails that say the recipients must pay a ticket within 48 hours or their licenses will be revoked.
The emails are a “phishing” scam aimed at installing a malicious program on recipients’ computers for the purpose of garnering enough personal information to allow the criminals to steal money or identities, according to the DMV warning.
The fraudulent emails pretend to be from DMV and claim State Police have advised DMV that the recipient has several outstanding traffic violations, according to a prepared statement by the DMV about the scam. The email then provides two links to either plead guilty or to refute the tickets.
The links direct unsuspecting users to a malicious download that may expose their computers to a virus. Anyone who receives such an email should delete it immediately. Do not click on any links in the email and do not forward the email, DMV said.
“The Department of Motor Vehicles does not send emails urging motorists to pay traffic tickets within 48 hours or lose your license,” said DMV Deputy Executive Commissioner Terri Egan, in the prepared statement. “It is unfortunate that people use our agency’s name to target innocent consumers. We urge New Yorkers to always remain cautious about opening email attachments or following links, even if they appear to come from legitimate agencies.”
A similar hoax occurred in 2011 when people received an email that purported to be a “uniform traffic ticket” from DMV. That hoax included an attached zip file, which recipients were led to believe was a copy of the ticket, but it planted a virus when opened.
Anyone who has opened a suspicous attachment or who has clicked such the fraudulent links should immediately update and run antivirus software and take steps to be sure the computer system is secure. Do not forward the email to State Police or local law enforcement, but do alert them, the DMV said.