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New Email Scam Involving Phony Packages Hits The Internet

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With just over eight weeks until Christmas, a new scam involving packages has hit the Internet, and quite possibly, your email.

"Everyone is moving to the Internet for scams," says Point Park University professor Elaine Luther.

This one involves an email with an enticing subject line like: "Victoria Haney has sent you a package."

Naturally, you want to know more, and it seems so easy to click on the tracking number's link.

"We're buying more and more online, and everyone is doing tracking online, so it is a natural way to go," said Luther.

But Luther, whose doctorate is in information systems, says don't do it.

"It's the electronic equivalent of opening the door to a stranger," she said.

Clicking that link could allow scam artists to compromise your computer system and your data.

"They are capturing what you're doing and taking that to a third party that can use that information to access your credit card, access your bank statement, or do something even worse," Luther said.

Luther advises consumers to do something pretty simple to protect themselves.

"If you don't recognize it, you should write down the information -- if it's on your smartphone, take a photograph, capture the screen with your photograph, do not click on anything," Luther said.

Postal officials say they never send emails about packages, and neither do most of the major delivery systems.

So, instead, go on their websites and use the tracking number you took from the email.

Chances are there is no package at all, and you saved yourself from being scammed.

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