One of the most important weapons in the toolbox of every virus writer, hacker, phisher, or other fraudster is the scare tactic.


Fraudsters might try to trick you into clicking links, opening attachments, or willingly handing over personal information by telling you that your account is going to be closed, that you already have a virus, or that someone has posted a video of you on the Internet.


The latest scare tactic is an e-mail message that appears to come from an anti-piracy group. The message says that the group has evidence that you've downloaded copyrighted material illegally. If you try to open the file that supposedly contains the evidence, you'll install malware on your computer.


If you receive an e-mail message like this, don't be tempted to open it. It's not real. For more tips on avoiding scams like these, see Recognize phishing scams and fraudulent e-mail.


If you have been sharing files illegally or legally, it's a good idea to know the risks.