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Scams Involving Mugshots - July 16, 2013

There is a new racket going on and there are two very different variations to be aware of. First is a growing number of websites that scrape existing, real mugshots out of public databases, and contact these people.

Arrestees pay sometimes hundreds of dollars to remove their mugs from general search engines because they feel embarrassed or threatened that their friends and/or employers will find out. Sites like this are being sued for extortion in a lawsuit testing the bounds of the First Amendment, but in the meantime there are victims.

The second flavor is even more evil, and it is a heads-up of social engineering scams people can expect in their email box. In this attack, people that were not arrested in the first place are being targeted with an email that claims their mugshot is easy to find on the Internet and if they want to see this embarrassing picture, Click Here Now. The link leads them to a legit site that has been compromised and infects their PC with a drive-by attack, laying down a Trojan on the hard disk making the PC a zombie. Textbook example of social engineering using the prevent a negative consequence trick.

Always Think Before You Click and delete emails that mention mugshots of anyone; yourselves, friends, family or co-workers!