RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There is an alert for all parents. Cyber crooks are preying on your love and concern for your children. Criminals are sending fake emails that look like a warning about a child predator in the area, but it's really a fake.
If you saw the warning you just may be fooled. It claims a sex offender may be in your area right now. Sounds scary -- but it's all a trick and falling for it could be more frightening. It's one of the latest email schemes designed to get you to click a malicious link.
If you're fooled, it could lead to a cyber nightmare. Sgt. Matthew Patterson, with the Virginia State Police says you should never trust emails like this.
"We are aware of this scam and I would encourage citizens, if they are concerned about predators in their neighborhood, to visit the sex offender registry website, where you can kind of become your own investigator," he said.
The place you should go if you are concerned about a child predators in you area is Virginia's Sex Offender Registry site. It's free and operated by State Police.
"We don't solicit any kind of sensitive personal information and the only time you would receive an email from us is if you have registered for community notifications," he explained.
Consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau have sent out alerts about this latest scheme. Your best source of protection is to never reply to unsolicited emails and never click links in them. If you click the link in this latest deception, experts say you may end up on a legitimate site -- but happening in the background on your computer, cyber criminals are busy at work. They're searching for user-names, passwords and credit card numbers.
"We realized this was inevitable, this was going to happen but we want to get the word out the source is the Virginia State Police sex offender registry website," Sgt. Patterson stressed.
If you signed up for the state's sex offender alerts, in the sender's email address you will see the state police department's official email ending dot g-o-v. If you see anything else in your inbox, hit delete. If you think you've been a victim, you should run your anti-virus and keep any eye on your bank and credit card accounts. If you are still worried, crooks could be spying on you, you may need to contact a computer professional. ..Source.. by Gray Hall