This story was first published on June 27, 2012
Unsolicited emails claim that the recipient’s arrest record can be viewed online or has recently been updated. Other versions claim that recipients can find out who has performed background checks on them or can check the police records of other people.
The messages are designed to promote an online record checking service that purportedly allows users to enter a person’s name and retrieve a report that includes a detailed criminal history, contact and address information and other personal details. To retrieve a full report, users must sign up and pay a monthly fee. If you receive one of these spam emails, do not click on any links that it contains.
Subject: Your Police RecordYOUR CRIMINAL RECORDS ONLINEl
Subject: Your arrest record is onlineYour Criminal Record may have been updated recently
Subject: Your arrest RecordWho has performed a background check on you
Back in 2012, spam emails like the examples shown above were inundating inboxes all around the world.
Subject lines in the spam messages vary considerably, but most make references to arrest or police records. The body of the messages, which consists of only one sentence turned into a clickable link, claims that the recipient can check his or her arrest record online. Some versions claim that the recipient’s police record has recently been updated. Others suggest that the recipient can check other people’s records or find out who has performed background checks.
The links in the spam emails open a website that offers users the ability to look up information about people by entering their name in a search field. Users are promised access to a report about people they search for that includes a criminal history along with other details such as address and contact information. However, to access the full reports, users are required to register on the site and sign up for a membership plan that charges a monthly fee to their credit card.
The spam campaign may be the work of unscrupulous and unethical affiliates of the parent website. Links in the spam emails usually only work for a few hours before they begin producing “forbidden” or “page not found” errors rather than opening the targeted site.
In any case, the best policy in dealing with such spam messages is to simply delete them. Do not click any links in the emails. Do not reply to the emails. Regardless of whether or not the site will actually provide a useful report to users, it would be unwise to supply your credit card details to any organisation unscrupulous enough to promote itself via a spam campaign. People who buy from spammers make it worse for all Internet users by making such campaigns pay off for those responsible.