Attorney General warns of email-based phishing scams
BATON ROUGE - The Attorney General's Office is warning local consumers to beware of email-based phishing scams that direct you to open attachments.
"Phishing" attacks occur when internet scammers try to mimic the look of business websites or emails in order to trick the user into entering their personal information.
"Bogus emails have been going around trying to convince citizens to click attachments disguised as court notices or outstanding invoices," Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell said. "Consumers should not open any attachments and immediately delete these emails."
The Attorney General says the scammers send emails that look legitimate but are designed to trick recipients into installing malware or entering credit card account numbers. Malware is short for "malicious software" that includes viruses or spyware. Malware can be installed on computers, phones or tablets without the owner's consent and can discretely monitor and control the user's online activity without them knowing. Criminals then use the information obtained by the software to steal more personal information, send spam or commit other types of online fraud.
"Consumers are likely to see several variations of this email scam, as it is easy for con artists to make small changes and continue targeting people," Attorney General Caldwell said.
Caldwell advised consumers to delete unsolicited or unexpected email. The AG's Office also provided some tips for what to do in the event that you open an attachment you may believe to be a part of a phishing scam:
• Stop shopping, banking, and doing other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
• Update your security software, and then run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything identified as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
• If your computer is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support, contact the manufacturer.
• If you can't solve the problem on your own, consider hiring a company - some are affiliated with retail stores - that offers tech support on the phone, online, at a retail store, or in your home.