Sheriff's Office

PR #:
Date Issued:
May 27, 2021 - 2:24PM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office warns of scam disguised as auto-renewal of identity theft protection software

Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detectives are warning the public of a phishing email scam.

Potential victims are sent an email which appears to be from McAfee Total Protection, an antivirus internet security software. The email states that the person has been automatically renewed at a cost of nearly $300 which will be reflected on the potential victim’s bank account within 24 hours. If the person does not wish for their subscription to the fake McAfee Total Protection, they are directed to call the cancellation department or billing helpline number.

Potential victims who have called that number indicate a “representative” 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.

Detectives want to point out specific clues in the email which indicate it is fraudulent:

  • The email was sent from a Gmail account
  • The email was sent to nearly 50 recipients
  • The contact phone number is a long-distance number to Florida – it is not toll-free
    • Additionally, the phone number indicates the US/Canadian country code of +1
  • There are punctuation/spacing mistakes
  • There are language/grammar mistakes

Convincing phishing scams work because they appear to be coming from a legitimate source. 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.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Always double check the sender’s email address
  • Log on to a company’s official website instead of calling numbers provided, or clicking on links provided within an email. Use the contact information from the legitimate website
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine

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


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.


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