Over time many email scams have grown increasingly complex in order to fool would-be victims, while others remain successful only because of their simplicity. According to the Kalispell Police Department, a new scam email has been circulating the Kalispell region. The writer impersonates the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by providing details about a fake traffic violation, and demands payment be transmitted within 72 hours.
The police department acknowledges that while the email may use links to official websites and provide accurate code citations, it is still fake. In addition, links may connect the email recipient to malware, and anyone who receives such an email should refrain from clicking or downloading anything.
“These emails are not legitimate,” the Kalispell Police Department wrote in a press release on May 31. “Links should not be followed, and emails should be placed in quarantine. Please note that the courts and law enforcement do not collect fines via email, and the Department of Motor Vehicles does not collect money for traffic violations.”
Email scams often work because they instill a sense of urgency in the potential victim. This scam may be successful because it demands payment so quickly, complicating matters by implying the recipient may be hit with additional fines should he or she fail to make a payment on time.
A number of other scams can seem even more convincing because the scammer has all the information required to make it look incredibly legitimate, including your car’s make and model, the traffic route on which you were supposedly speeding, the time during which you were supposedly speeding, and even personal details. This information may be acquired through a phone or vehicle application to which the criminal has access.
It also helps to know that police sometimes use more “creative” methods to enforce their own speeding tickets, which means slapping you with the fines when you may have not actually done anything wrong. According to one man who was driving through Norfolk, Virginia, he was pulled over directly after crossing a median between three consecutive speed limit changes. Charles Anton says that you have to mention the speed trap scam in order to get out of the ticket, in which case you will most likely go home with a warning.
Another word to the wise: do not speed on roads that are tolled. Your vehicle is almost always photographed, which means police can send you a ticket in the mail after they calculate your average speed was greater than the speed at which you could safely travel from one toll booth to the other, depending on the speed limit of that road.