Internet surfers in south Leeds are being warned to be vigilant when online after Police became aware of a fraudulent scam, writes John Baron.
While people are trawling the web viewing legitimate websites, users are suddenly faced with a locked computer and a message claiming to be from police.
The message claims that the Force has identified them as having ‘illegal activity’ on the computer – including child pornography sending terrorist messages – and that they must pay a fine which varies in amounts, by contacting an email address or telephone number and quoting a voucher code displayed on the message.
Police are urging members of the public to be on the look out for the message and if it appears on their computers, they must NOT respond to it and report it to the police immediately via 101.
It is thought the scam has hit other areas of the country and has just recently come to light in West Yorkshire.
My computer was locked out by this virus/scam operation yesterday and the scammers demanded £100 to unlock it. It took our IT bods at work most of the day to tackle the problem.
Detective Inspector Fran Naughton of West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said:
“This scam is very deceiving as not only does it use convincing legal jargon, it also misuses the Force crest and logo.
“We currently have had 20 reports of this nature in West Yorkshire over the last few days but we are aware there are more victims of this scam.
“I urge people to be on their guard when surfing the web and if they come across this message on their screens to report it to us straight away and more importantly, ignore it. This is not how we operate when it comes to illegal computer use and we are liaising with other Forces across the country to trace those responsible.”
Anyone who receives this message should contact West Yorkshire Police on 101. UKash is a legitimate cash-transfer business and is not involved in the scam.