The Internet is presenting a golden age for scam artists. And they're concocting more creative ways of taking your money and infiltrating your accounts.

The latest scam is both diabolical and simple in its construction. Be on the lookout for a traffic citation referring to a crime you never committed. I recently received an email requesting payment for a traffic violation. And it was so vague, it made me think for a minute before I dismissed it. Here's the email:

Department of Transportation <notice@gov-co.com>
Wed 8/12/2020 4:38 PM

Mr./Ms. Coombs, our traffic cameras recorded you running a red light on August 2, 2020. As such, you have been charged with a traffic citation.

You may contest this citation in court, or pay the fine online at gov-co.com/citations/payonline.You may do so no sooner than August 15, 2020, and no later than August 19, 2020.

Thank you for your attention,
Department of Transportation

Let's cover a few key points about the details in this email:

  1. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS. I've highlighted the fraudulent links I received in blue, but they're not functional in this post.
  2. If they don't know whether you're a Mr. or a Ms., they're probably not legitimate.
  3. Maybe you HAVE run a red light at some point, which makes the so-called "charge" somewhat believable. But don't fall for it, because they should disclose the precise location of the infraction.
  4. The return email address is a fake. The "gov-co.com" portion makes a lame attempt at legitimacy.

The bottom line: Look carefully at any and all emails you receive, especially those asking for you to take action. Scammers are clever, but they're not as clever as you.

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