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We hear about email scams often; some of us may have even been victims. But none have been as alarming as the speeding ticket scam making the rounds in the US.

Hackers posing as a local police agency are sending fake traffic tickets claiming the recipient of the email was caught on camera speeding and must pay a fine. What makes this scam so scary is the level of information contained within the email, such as actual GPS and traffic data, including street names, speed limits and actual driving speed. Even scarier is the fact that the email recipients were actually speeding at the location and time listed in the fake infraction notice. Since the email contains legitimate information it appears genuine, but after clicking on the attached link to view the speeding ticket, a malware virus is automatically downloaded to their computer. The email may also contain an image of a driver’s license plate and a citation that claims it must be paid within five working days.

How is this possible? Police believe the hackers are using a GPS-enabled smartphone traffic or navigation app – one many of us use every day, though which app is unclear. Apparently, if you know where your target is located and how long it takes them to get from Point A to Point B, you can do a quick computation to determine how fast they were traveling.

The best way to protect yourself from this, or any email scam, is to never open unsolicited attachments, have a trusted antivirus installed on your computer and configure your email client for security. Police are also reminding people that speeding ticket citations are never sent through email, nor are fines resolved through email.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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