HALTON motorists are being warned to watch out for scam e-mails alleging you owe a parking fine.

Halton Trading Standards raised the alarm after a local resident received a message demanding money.

The e-mail originated from justice.alerts@public.gov.delivery.com and have been spoofed to make it appear as though they have been sent from justice.gov.uk. They are not from the Ministry of Justice or GovDelivery.

A spokesman for Halton Trading Standards said: “The claims are fictitious and the e-mail contains a suspicious attachment or website link.

“The e-mail provides exact times and dates of where your car has supposedly been parked and warns that you could have a debt registered against you if you don’t pay. Don’t be taken in by this.

“The e-mails ask you to download ‘photographic evidence and forms for making payment’ but the attachment is likely to contain a virus. If you receive one of these rogue communications, delete it, do not download any attachment.”

Phishing e-mails often pretend to be from a bank or an official organisation such as government agencies.

To protect yourself follow these tips:

• Be suspicious if the e-mail addresses you in vague terms like ‘Dear valued customer’

• Never log in to your online account having clicked on a link in an e-mail. If you want to log in to your online account, you should open your internet browser and type the organisation or bank's web address in yourself

• Be suspicious if you are asked to ‘confirm’ or ‘update’ your password or any personal information by clicking on a link and visiting a website - banks will never e-mail you to request that you do this

• Treat all unsolicited e-mails with caution and never click on links from such e-mails or enter any personal information

• If in doubt about the validity of an e-mail, or if you think that you may have disclosed information to a fraudulent site, contact your bank or the organisation that appears to have sent the e-mail immediately on its advertised number.

For general consumer advice ring the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or visit citizensadvice.org.uk/