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Law enforcement warns of more phishing scams

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-26 14:19:45-04

APPLETON (NBC 26) -- Scams continue to be an issue as new ones appear every day. Law enforcement warns of the latest phishing scam involving faking traffic violation tickets.

According to the Appleton Police Department, a person says they receive what appeared to be a legitimate email from the Appleton Traffic Enforcement. The email stated a vehicle registered to the person had been caught speeding on a stationary traffic camera. They were then given a link to pay a fine of $275 with the police department.

Police say the person reached out to the department before they could fall victim to this would-be phishing email.

The department explains how scammers are always trying to outsmart email spam filters to make it to your inbox, making it more likely for you to fall victim to a phishing scam.

Phishing emails often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link of opening an attachment. Some email phishing may:

  • say they've noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • claim there's a problem with your account or payment information
  • say you must confirms some personal information
  • include a fake invoice
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment
  • say you're eligible to register for a government refund
  • offer a coupon for free stuff

In this person's example, at a glance, the email might look real. However, the Appleton Police Department points out several red flags to be on the lookout for.

Police say any city within the state of Wisconsin, including the City of Appleton, does not use stationary cameras for traffic enforcement at this time. Another indicator is the return email address, which has a suspicious domain not related to Appleton or the police department. Lastly, there is not specific information such as the vehicle information or intersection where the violation occurred.

Police explain that clicking on the provided link could cost you money in the short term. In the long term, it could provide the scammers with valuable information off your computer they are looking to retrieve like passwords, account numbers, and access to your email or Social Security numbers.

The Appleton Police Department says to be vigilant in identifying scams. Additionally, if it seems like a scam, it's probably a scam!