Consumer Alert: Fake predator e-mails

Consumer Alert: Fake predator e-mails

Cyber crooks are preying on your love and concern for your children. Criminals are sending fake emails that look like a warning about a child predator in the area, but it's really a fake.

The email claims that a sex offender may be in your area right now. It sounds scary, but it's all a trick and falling for it could be more frightening.

Experts say you should never trust emails like this.

"We are aware of this scam and I would encourage citizens, if they are concerned about predators in their neighborhood, to visit the sex offender registry website, where you can kind of become your own investigator," said Sgt. Matthew Patterson with the Virginia State Police.

There are several sites you can go to get information on local predators, including your local sheriff's office or the Attorney General's website.

Consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau have sent out alerts about this latest scheme. Your best source of protection is to never reply to unsolicited emails and never click links in them.

If you click the link in this latest deception, experts say you may end up on a legitimate site. But in the background on your computer, cyber criminals are busy at work. They're searching for user names, passwords and credit card numbers.

"We realized this was inevitable, this was going to happen but we want to get the word out," Sgt. Patterson stressed.

If you signed up for the state's sex offender alerts, in the sender's email address you will see this URL:

If you see anything else in your inbox, delete it.

If you think you've been a victim, you should run your anti-virus software and keep any eye on your bank and credit card accounts.

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.