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Sheriff’s office warns of McAfee email scam


Washoe County Sheriff’s Office detectives are warning the public of a phishing email scam coming from an account claiming to be McAfee, an antivirus internet security software.

Emails from “McAfee Total Protection” state that the recipient has been automatically renewed for services for one year at a cost of $299.99, which will be reflected on their bank account within 24 hours.

The email states that if the person does not wish for their subscription to continue, they are to call the cancellation department or billing helpline number.

Potential victims who have called that number indicate someone attempts to solicit and confirm personal identifying information. Additionally, the “representative” asks for a bank account number in order to verify the “refund” of a renewal payment processes accordingly.

The sheriff’s office points out specific clues in the email which indicate it is fraudulent:

  • The message was sent from a Gmail account.
  • The message was sent to multiple recipients.
  • The contact phone number is a long-distance number, not a toll-free one. The phone number also indicates the U.S./Canadian country code of +1.
  • There are punctuation and spacing mistakes, along with language and grammatical errors.

“Convincing phishing scams work because they appear to be coming from a legitimate source,” according to the sheriff’s office. “They also have a sense of urgency to them. In this particular scam, the potential victims are told they must call for a refund within 24 hours of the email being sent.”

Authorities suggest people double check a sender’s email address, log onto a company’s website to look for contact information instead of calling numbers provided, and contact the business to verify the email is legitimate.

Anyone who has received this email, or similar correspondence, is encouraged to dismiss and delete the communication. Anybody who has suffered a loss as a result of this or other phishing scams is asked to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Division at 775-328-3320.

A sample of the McAfee phishing scam provided by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.