The Illinois Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning to everyone, especially parents, to watch out for an email scam. It is a “community safety” alert that is designed to look official. The BBB says the email is a hoax being sent by identity thieves that is intended to look like an alert to warn parents about a child predator living in the area.

The BB says the subject line of the email states

“Alert: A child-predator just moved into your neighborhood. Alert #123107756”.

The email claims to be a notification that is automatically generated and is being sent based on your computer’s IP address as well as your zip code. Included in the message is a link to click that will provide the recipient with more information about the predator.

If you click on the link, you will be redirected through several sites to land on a website that sells localized reports on sex offenders.

Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. says

This Accredited Business is being used by the ID thieves as a way to lend credibility to their email and distract from the actual scam. The first click of the scam email does the damage with malware that will attempt to search for stored information such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers.

 

A general rule of thumb you should never click on links in unsolicited emails. If you want more information it’s better to use your browser and search yourself.

The BB offers these tips on how to spot an email scam:

Check out the “From” field: Scammers can mask email addresses, making them appear to come from legitimate sources. Look out for email addresses that don’t match the brand used in the email message.

Typos and grammar – Brand logos and email formats can easily be copied, but bad grammar and poor writing typically indicate that the message is a scam.

Check URL’s – Hover over URL’s to determine their real destination. Usually, the hyperlink text will say one thing and the link will point somewhere else.

Personalized emails – Scams often pretend to be personalized for you, but they are actually blast emails. If you never signed up for custom email alerts, you shouldn’t be receiving them.

For more information check out BBB.com