SCAMwatch is warning consumers about an email allegedly from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The email looks real—it displays the AFP logo and provides contact details for an AFP officer—but the AFP has advised SCAMwatch that it did not write the email and does not endorse it.
The email purports to be a warning from the AFP against opening emails that you may receive along the lines of 'Osama Bin Laden captured' or 'Osama hanged', or ones containing an attachment called 'Invitation'. The bogus AFP email warns you not to open these emails because they contain a virus that will cause your computer to crash and you will not be able to fix it. It urges you to forward the warning to your family and friends.
SCAMwatch warns that if you receive this email purportedly from the AFP, delete it immediately. While this email does not appear to contain a virus, forwarding the email may give scammers the opportunity to install malicious software on your computer and will contribute to unnecessary email traffic. Never reply, as this confirms your email address and you may receive even more spam emails in the future.
- The alert may request you to pass on the 'warning' to 'others in your address book' or 'everyone you know'.
- The email might contain faulty links or telephone numbers.
- The message is not addressed to a specified recipient; instead it is addressed to a generic title.
- If your computer has been infected, it may dramatically slow down. Other signs that your computer has been infected include new desktop icons, new wallpaper or your default homepage being redirected to another site. Do not use the computer until you have had it 'cleaned' by a computer professional or similar.
- Use your commonsense—any email that comes from a sender you do not know, is not specifically addressed to you, and promises you some benefit, is likely to be spam.
- Scammers can easily create fake logos and use the names of legitimate organisations to try to fool consumers.
- Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam)—delete them.
- Do not click on any links in spam emails or open any files attached to them. Scammers will try to trick you into clicking on a link or pop-up message in a spam email or get you to visit a fake website set up solely to infect people’s computers.
- Install software and a firewall to protect your computer from viruses and unwanted programs, and make sure it is of reputable quality and kept up to date.
You can report scams by visiting report a scam on SCAMwatch.