Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
SCAMMERS ARE POSING AS THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING IN EMAILS
~ Scams demand payment to resolve purported debt or outstanding warrants ~
RICHMOND (March 9, 2015) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring today warned Virginians to be vigilant for a major, ongoing "phishing" scam involving emails, phone calls, and social media messages purporting to be from the Attorney General and his office. The emails claim to be a "Final Legal Notification" from Attorney General Herring or his staff regarding debt owed to "Cash Advance, Inc," or some variation thereof, or claim that an "arrest warrant" has been taken out on the recipient. The emails demand payment from the recipient to resolve the issues. In some cases, recipients may receive follow-up phone calls from the scammers perpetuating the fraud. The Attorney General's Office does not operate in such a manner and the recipient should not respond to the emails or phone calls.
The Virginia State Police is currently conducting a criminal investigation into this matter. If you have received an e-mail and/or phone call as described above please forward the email to the state police, or contact them at
Phishing scams typically involve scammers posing as legitimate organizations demanding that victims turn over their personal information so it can be used to commit fraud and identity theft. Phishing emails also may be used to simply steal money or install viruses or software to spy on users' activity. Attempts have become more sophisticated and can be difficult to distinguish from legitimate messages. Attorney General Herring would like you to keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Phishing emails typically contain misspellings and poor grammar, and demand that you "act immediately."
- Most legitimate companies do not ask for personal information over email or by unsolicited phone call. Should you have a question about your status or account with an institution, call the company directly from a number off their real website.
- Do not click on links in suspected emails or use numbers contained in them.
- Never reply to a suspicious email or provide personal information to an unsolicited phone call.
- Report the email to the purported institution or appropriate law enforcement agency.
- Use strong passwords for your email, computer, and financial accounts, including variations of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 characters.
- Install anti-virus programs on your computer and scan files and emails regularly.
- Check for regular updates to your operating system.
- Install and activate a software and hardware firewall on your computer.
- Backup all of your data regularly using an external hard drive.
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