Fact Check

Parking Violations Bureau Virus

A virus is being spread via e-mails about a parking violation ticket issued in another city.

Published Jul 12, 2011

Virus:   Virus spread via e-mails about a parking violation ticket issued in another city.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2014]

Parking violation notice

City of Philadelphia records indicate that a parking citation(s) issued to the vehicle described below has not been paid. This fines and applicable penalties area past due and must be paid within the next ten calendar days. DMV records show that you are/were the registered owner at the time this vehicle was cited. Therefore, you are legally responsible for responding to this notice.


Origins:   In December 2014, e-mails purporting to be from the "Parking Violations Bureau" in a variety of different American cities and states were spammed to Internet users. They purported to detail unpaid illegal parking citations issued to the recipients of the e-mail messages and directed recipients to open an attached zip file (often named "Ticket.zip") to retrieve a copy of a parking ticket that needed to be filled out and returned to avoid penalties for non-compliance.

The e-mails were a hoax, and the zip file attachment bore a virus payload. This hoax was similar to one that circulated in mid-2011, for which the New York State Police issued an alert stating:

This e-mail is not from the State Police or the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you receive this e-mail, you should not open the email or attachment as it likely contains a virus. Please do not forward it to the New York State Police or your local police.

Last updated:   18 February 2015


    GolgowskI, Nina.   "NY Troopers Warn of E-mail Hoax Ticket and Computer Virus."

    CNN.   7 July 2011.

    Associated Press.   "NY Troopers: Beware Email Pretending to Be Ticket."

    Wall Street Journal.   7 July 2011.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.