Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Courts Could Help to Protect Drivers from Traffic Ticket Phishing E-mail

CyberheistNews posted an article about “the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles warning about a phishing scam where New York drivers are being targeted, stating they have 48 hours to pay a fine or have their driver's license revoked.” In this post, we share some ideas that courts may consider to help to reduce or eliminate this problem.


In their blog article, “Scam of the Week: DMV Warns Drivers About Traffic Ticket Phishing”

They write:
“The NY DMV alerted motorists that the scam is just bait to entice them to click on a “payment” link that will in turn infect their workstation with malware. The DMV does not know how many people have been affected, but Owen McShane, director of investigations at New York State DMV, said calls came in from New York City, Albany and Syracuse. 
Olenick was able to get a bit more detail: "The malware being dropped came in two categories. The first simply placed a tracking tool on the victim's computer to see what websites were visited; and the second, more nefarious, attempted to acquire a variety of personally identifiable information, such as names, Social Security numbers, date of birth and credit card information."
The article goes on to explain that the links in the e-mail don't connect to any New York or New York government website. And they also explained that the New York DMV does not send E-mail demanding payment to persons who have received citations.

So, what can courts do to help.?  Obviously, one easy thing is to post a warning on the court’s website and social media on a regular basis.  But I also think that this highlights the need for courts to provide the ability for citizens to easily verify the status of their citations by a single web portal.  The portal would let a person look up their status using their name and driver’s license or the citation number?

This web portal project should also be able to accept text messages.  The text could be something simple like text your driver’s license number to XXX to see if you have any outstanding court debts?
Both the printed citation itself and any online payment websites should also include a warning such as, before you respond to any E-mail, check your status at www.whatdoyouowethecourt.gov (fake name) or text your driver’s license number to XXXX.

Is anyone doing this now?  Do you have a better idea?  If so, please share in the comments below.

And last, as Sargent Esterhaus used to say on the 80's television program, Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there"

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