BBB Warning: Child predator email scam preys on concerned parents

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Mobile devices. Laptop, smartphone and tablet pc.(Buffalo, NY)–Fake email warnings about a child predator being in the neighborhood are the latest scams criminals have used to steal personal information, according to the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York (BBB).

As a result, the BBB has designed the following safety message to alert communities about the scamming method.

How the scam works:

You receive an email alert with the subject line “Pedophile alert,” or “Alert: There is a Child-Predator Living Near You!”

The email typically states, “You are receiving this email because there may be a risk of sex offender activity in your area, or “A child-predator just moved into your neighborhood.”

A link to click is also normally included in the message, which says it will take you to the information.

Clicking on the link then takes the user to a series of redirected sites, to land on the website for Kids Live Safe, a service which sells localized reports on sex offenders.

However, this site isn’t actually affiliated with Kids Live Safe.

And, once you click the links, it will instead infect your computer with malware which will attempt to search for stored information such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers.

According to the BBB, people should never click on links in unsolicited emails.

In addition, the organization said it recommends people use their browsers to search for additional URL information before they click on an unfamiliar link.

How to spot an email scam:

• Check out the “from” field. Scammers can mask email addresses, making them appear to come from legitimate sources.

Consequently, look for email addresses which don’t match the organization’s name used in the message.

• Typos and grammar. Organization logos, and email formats, may easily be copied, but bad grammar and poor writing typically indicate a message is a scam.

• Check URLs. Hover over a URL to determine its real destination. Usually, the hyperlink text will say one thing, and the link will point somewhere else.

• Personalized emails. Scams often pretend to be personalized, but they are actually blast emails.

If the receiver never signed up for custom email alerts, the person should not be receiving them.

• Be careful with unsubscribe options. It’s better to just delete this type of solicitation. If you choose unsubscribe, you could open yourself up for more unwanted, spam email.

Finally, check out the FBI’s directory of state databases, at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry, or the New York State Sex Offender Registry at http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/ , to get information on registered sex offenders in your area.

Note: KidsLiveSafe.com is a BBB accredited business.

Visit http://www.bbb.org/santa-barbara/business-reviews/safety-consultants/kidslivesafe-com-in-santa-barbara-ca-92010018 for additional information.