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Report and delete fake AFP traffic infringement notices

Priority Level: 
1 February 2016

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has warned of scam ‘traffic infringement notices’ being delivered to people by email. The AFP issued a tweet on 19 January advising recipients of the message that ‘we’d never send traffic infringement notices by email,’ and advising not to pay any money or click any links.

The scammers appear to be sending another wave of these previously seen scam emails to people in Australia. If you receive one of these emails you are advised to report it to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and delete it from your system without clicking on any links or opening any attachments.    

The scam email incorporates the AFP logo and has few if any of the grammatical or typographical errors that typically characterise scam emails.

The message states the recipient has been issued with a traffic infringement and incorporates fake details such as reason, infringement number, date of issue, amount due and due date.

The email then features the line: ‘To see more information, please view your infringement notice’. The latter phrase includes a link to a spurious notice.

Stay Smart Online advises users not to click on the link as it is likely to infect your computer with malicious software that may be used to capture your financial information, steal your identity or encrypt your files as part of a ransomware attack.

The email also features a second link that you should not click on under any circumstances. This link is also likely to install malicious software that can then access your computer and personal information.

A screenshot of the message is included below.

Example AFP Infringement stating reason, infringement, date or issue, amount due, and due date

Staying safe

If your computer has been infected by ransomware, you should restore your files from backup and update your systems. To do this, you need to be maintaining regular backups of important files.  Stay Smart Online has information about how to do this, and we recommend you seek technical advice if you are unsure about the next steps.

We recommend against paying any ransom demanded to decrypt your files. There is also no guarantee the attackers will provide a working decryption tool, and you are not protected against future attacks.

You should also change all of the passwords and usernames on your computer. Stay Smart Online has advice on choosing strong passwords and we recommend the use of a password manager to help you choose and use very strong passwords.

The best cure is prevention, and we recommend that you keep your antivirus programs and computer systems updated at all times, and to be cautious of viewing attachments in emails from unknown sources and visiting websites of dubious origin.

More information

Stay Smart Online has information on securing your computers.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.