Informed internet users are likely aware of the practice of phishing, where scammers send legitimate-looking emails that lure readers to click on a link and submit their personal information or unknowingly download malware.
Typical phishing attempts take the form of emails from credit card companies or PayPal, but a new scam sends emails that appear to come from a government agency.
If the email recipient clicks on the link provided, the Zeus malware will be downloaded, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says.
"It is important," Van Hollen suggests, "to keep in mind that you cannot trust any unsolicited emails, even if [they claim] to be from the government."
While phishing is nothing new, the scams' perpetrators are constantly changing their strategies to take advantage of vulnerable consumers. Identity theft is an ever-present threat for web surfers - and that threat may only increase in the future.
Security software company BitDefender projects that spam and phishing attacks targeting members of social networks will become more prevalent this year. Networks like Facebook are booming in popularity, and internet users will have to be even more careful with their personal information to protect it from thieves.