CONSUMER ALERT: Threatening Emails Target Mississippi Businesses

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Attorney General Jim Hood is issuing a warning to businesses across the state about an international email scam that threatens to bomb a business if money is not transferred to the sender. 

The Attorney General’s Office was first alerted of such an email Thursday afternoon. The targeted businesses said they received an email that threatened to bomb their business if they did not send a large amount of money in the form of bitcoin, which is a digital currency. This scam is not unique to Mississippi—national news outlets have confirmed the same scam has been identified across the country and other parts of the world.

“The only action someone who receives this email should take is to report it to local law enforcement,” General Hood warned. “Our cyber crime investigators worked with local law enforcement yesterday to quickly identify this message as a scam and not a credible threat.” 

General Hood reminded Mississippians of ways to protect themselves against similar types of scammers:

·  Do not respond to any unsolicited e-mails, text messages, or phones calls of this nature.

·  Do not click on any attachments associated with such emails, as they may contain viruses or malware.

·  Educate yourself and your family on how the scam works.

·  Be suspicious of anyone who emails unexpectedly and wants you to wire money, especially out of the country.

·  Consider creating a “code word” or a “password” for your family to use in emergency situations as verification of identity, and do not tell it to anyone outside of the family.

·  If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email.

·  Don’t email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.

·  If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”).