Conned to pay fine after virus locks computer

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POLICE in Cookstown have issued a warning after a local resident was conned out of £100 from a fake website purporting to be from the police.

The resident received a demand for the money when the computer ‘locked’.

The con artists had claimed to be from Glasgow police.

According to local police this con has become more prevalent.

The Malware or computer virus locks the screen and requests that members of the public should pay a fine to get their computers unlocked.

The malware infects personal computers after users have accessed certain websites. And there are several similar site designs currently in circulation but they purport to be from law enforcement agencies.

Officers from the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) are working with international law enforcement agencies to investigate this offence. (There are similar scams involving Microsoft and performing rights bodies).

PCeU have liaised with all other UK forces to make them aware of the malware and steps to take. Action Fraud are also aware and have issued advice to the public.

“This is a fraud and users are advised NOT to pay out any monies or hand out any bank details,” said a police statement.

“No Police Service would contact members of the public via email and demand funds in this way.

“We would advise anyone who has been deceived by such a message and parted with any money to report the offence to their local police.

“Virus/Malware infections where no money has been lost can be logged at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud.

“In order to reduce the chances of being infected by this or similar malware police strongly recommend that anti-virus software is both used and (importantly) routinely updated to keep pace with new threats as they are discovered.

“In addition, operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS routinely issue updates that patch potential vulnerabilities. Sound advice can be found at www.getsafeonline.org,” said the police statement.