• Nov 8th 2011 at 2:00PM
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Email scammers masquerading as the government have been... Email scammers masquerading as the government have been targeting New Yorkers (Courtesy of Sophos).
A scam that could've been developed by a kid on his bedroom computer is conning drivers into believing they owe money on an old New York State speeding ticket.

According to MSNBC, the scammers are sending out emails that say the driver got a "uniform traffic ticket from New York state. It looks legit -- the return address is @nyc.gov. But opening a zip file to pay the bill puts a Trojan horse virus on your computer, which could allow hackers to track your private information like credit card numbers and passwords.

"It wasn't very sophisticated as they spammed it worldwide, rather than narrowing the focus to the U.S. or even to New York," said Beth Jones, senior threat researcher at computer security firm SophosLabs US. "It easily could've been some kid in his room who wanted to see if he could make some 'easy money' from hard-working folks."

Because red-light cameras and speed detectors are so prevalent these days, it's no longer uncommon to get nabbed with a ticket in the mail.

The email tells recipients to print up the attachment and send it to Chatam Hall, a seemingly plausible New York name.

Many people outside of the U.S. are rejecting the email immediately.

"I got 4 of these today," Marike van Breugel wrote on Sophos' Facebook page. "Considering I live in Thailand it seems absurd. Can't the spammers sort by country even?"

Another commenter, Tracey Lister, found similar humor.

"I've had 2 of these," she wrote. "Thought they were funny as I can't drive never mind go to New York."

Jones said this scam was different simply because of its subject matter.

"For the most part, scammers have stuck to relatively standard tricks," like asking people to pay invoices for FedEx bills or opening an IRS tax bill, or some other kind of scam, Jones said. "It was the first time they tried something like a speeding ticket."

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