Police are advising people to be alert for yet another Internet scam after a North Codorus Township resident was targeted.
A 58-year-old woman contacted Southwestern Regional Police after receiving an official-looking email notifying her she was about to be evicted from her home, Chief Greg Bean said.
"It had the appearance of being legitimate, so the sender spent some time making it look as real as possible," he said. "But because her son is her landlord, she knew immediately it (was bogus)."
Such email scams try to dupe people into sending money, or revealing personal information that compromises their identities, or clicking on links designed to steal personal information for the purposes of identity theft, according to police.
"The overall purpose is to defraud the person for money," Bean said, no matter how the scammers go about it.
Scammers know if they send out 100,000 emails, "there will be a certain percentage of people who do fall for the fraud," Bean said.
The email received by the North Codorus Township woman appeared to be from a court of law, according to the chief.
Bean advised people to be wary of emails that instruct recipients to divulge personal information, or make claims too good to be true, or encourage recipients to click on links.
"Anybody in the world can send you (a scam email)," he said. "You should always confirm the information by some other means."
For example, if you receive an email purporting to be from your bank that cites a problem with your account, don't reply to the email. Call your local bank branch, or go to your online banking account to check, Bean advised.
And that is true whether the scammer sends you an email, calls you on the phone or sends you a letter in the mail, he said.
"There are probably dozens of these scams that we don't even know about," Bean said.
Elderly people, who tend to be more trusting and less familiar with fraud, should be especially wary, according to the chief.
People who suspect they have been scammed should call police immediately, he said.