CONSUMER ALERT: Bogus Emails Claiming to Come from the “Office of the Attorney General” Targeting Mississippi Business Owners and Consumers

July 20, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippi consumers about a widely circulated email alleging to be from the “Office of the Attorney General,” which in fact is a brazen attempt to install damaging malware on computers. The scam emails have been received by multiple businesses and individuals in Mississippi over the last few days. The email states that a complaint has been filed against their business. It includes a link for the recipient to click to view the complaint. Recipients of this email should delete it immediately, and recipients should not click on the link contained in the email.

“We have received numerous calls and reports to our office this week from consumers who have received this email.  In one report, the recipient clicked on the link provided, which in turn wiped out her computer,” Attorney General Hood said. “The email is fraudulent. Our office does not send requests for responses to complaints by email.  Consumers should not open any links or attachments, nor should they reply back to this email.”

The email falsely claiming to be from the “Office of the Attorney General” initially appears to be legitimate. It states that the “office” has received a complaint against the business and provides a link to view the complaint. It gives consumers a timeline and instructions to file a rebuttal. Additionally, the email states that the office “cannot render legal advice nor can it represent individuals or intervene on their behalf in any civil or criminal matter.” There is also an email disclaimer that the scam artists used to make to try to lend credibility to the correspondence.

Even if the content of a message sounds reasonable or convincing, Attorney General Hood encourages consumers to look for errors in spelling, grammar, or wording that indicate that the email is fraudulent.  These errors are sure signs of a scam.

In addition to deleting scam emails and not clicking on links in those emails, consumers who receive suspicious emails or text messages may want to contact the business supposedly sending the message to let the business know that its name is being fraudulently used in a phishing attempt. 

“We appreciate those who came forward to let us know that a scammer was impersonating our office,” Attorney General Hood said.  “When consumers are vigilant in their efforts to avoid malware, computer viruses, and potential identity theft, it makes our job easier.”   

Consumers who have provided information in response to a phishing scam should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at
(800) 281-4418.

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