Scamwatch: speeding fine fraud

The police will not email you a speeding fine demand.

Beware new speeding fine scam

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we issue a warning about the fraudulent "speeding fine" emails being used by criminals to infect their victims' computers with viruses or so-called malware.

How does it work?

Police are warning internet users to be on their guard against a new type of email scam involving messages that appear to come from the police themselves.

A number of consumers have complained about receiving dodgy emails that detail a supposed speeding offence and ask recipients to divulge personal information.

Those who receive the messages also run the risk of infecting their computers with viruses or malware if they respond.

Detective Inspector Martin Hopkinson, of Greater Manchester Police's Serious Crime Division, said: "Greater Manchester Police would never send out correspondence via email requesting payment of fines, nor will we ask for your personal and financial information."

How can I avoid being caught out?

The police do not issue speeding fines by email, so if you receive an email claiming you have to pay a fine you can be sure it is a scam.

Another telltale sign that this is not a legitimate demand is that the website to which you are directed to make payment is hosted at an address outside the UK - something it is always worth checking before clicking on a link within an email.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you receive a suspicious email purporting to come from the police, you should delete it without responding or clicking on any links within them.

If it is too late for that, you can conduct a malware check using an online virus scanner such as the Microsoft Safety Scanner.

If anything dodgy shows up, or you have shared information such as your credit card number, you should then contact your bank or any other relevant organisations to ensure your accounts are secure.

You can then report the fraud to the police by contacting Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).