(WWBT) - A viewer contacted 12 about a suspicious email claiming there was negative information circulating in public records -- and that anyone could access it.
It claims to be a "Public Records Notification"with a frightening message that says your public record has negative information. Even more alarming, the sender say its open for the world to see. Cyber expert Chip Muir says while it sounds scary, there is no need to worry, none of it is true. "It is an email that stands to gain your trust and use that trust against you, saying that they are trying to help you, when in reality, you wild be undermining yourself," he says.
Not only should you not reply, Muir says don't click a link that says it will take you to a place where you can dispute and review the negative items. Clicking it could install a virus or take you to malicious site. If you're fooled, not only could your computer be infected, allowing cyber criminals to track your online activity, but it also makes you a prime target for identity theft. "There have been a lot of people that have had their computers infected by malware because of just this. There have been a lot of people that have had their credit history ruined because they actually clicked on the "clean up your credit," you are giving the thieves the information they need," Muir says.
When it comes to negative information, check your credit report. You can do that for free at Annual Credit report.com, which is backed by the federal government. Your best defense against fraudulent emails, never trust random messages and even more importantly, don't open attachments or clink links in them. "This has worked very well for identity thieves and cyber criminals because the low hanging fruit has been picked on, the cyber scams are getting a little more sophisticated," he says. If you think you've been of a victim of this email deception, keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts. You can also report it to Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov.
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