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E-Mail with Virus Claimed to Be Police Communicating About Traffic Tickets

In August 2011, various New York police departments and computer repair technicians began to warn people of an e-mail making the rounds through people’s computers that purported to be from the New York State Police. The e-mail was supposedly regarding a traffic violation. However, it ended up delivering a virus to people’s computers. People need to know what this e-mail looks like so they can avoid infecting their computers and what to do in case they are ever contacted by police about a traffic ticket.

E-Mail Scam

One of the things that made this e-mail scam so successful is that the e-mail looked legitimate. The fraudulent e-mail usually had the subject line “Uniform Traffic Ticket” and came from the e-mail address [email protected] The “.gov” e-mail address added legitimacy to the e-mail for many. The e-mail had a zip file attached and the body of the e-mail requested that the recipient open the attachment, fill out the form and return it to a town court.

Once a person unzipped the file an icon indicating a PDF file appeared with the name “Ticket-064-2011.exe.” When a person clicked on the icon to open what is supposedly a PDF file, it delivered a Trojan horse virus to the computer. The virus connected to a remote server and downloaded files into the host computer that claimed to be a computer optimization program called System Repair. System Repair caused pop-ups to appear on the computer with warnings that the computer was infected with a virus and that the computer owner should purchase a license for System Repair to remove the virus.

What to Do When Contacted by Police About a Traffic Ticket

If a person does receive communication regarding a traffic ticket and he or she does not know if the communication is legitimate, he or she may contact:

  • The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB)
  • The police department issuing the citation

These agencies should have a record of the citation and would be able to tell whether it is legitimate.

Traffic violations can be serious matters. The fines can be costly and the damage they do to a person’s driving record can lead to license suspension. If you are facing a traffic violation, contact an attorney who can advise you of your options.