Friday 24 November 2017 04:42:59 PM

Computer Scamsters Use Police Identities To Demand Payments
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POLICE  in Newcastle have received a report of an ongoing scam where computers and laptops are infected with a virus.

The screen displays what appears to be an official police service message and that their computer is now locked due to illegal surfing activity.  They say the computer user is now subject to a fine of £100 to unlock their computer again. The payment method is usually via “UKASH” or via “PAYCARD”…please note that other methods of payment cannot be ruled out at this point.

It seems that the computer may also be infected with a virus and the scam may demand payment in the form of UKash vouchers.

Beware of computer scams. One has been reported in Newcastle but could strike anywhere in County Down.

Beware of computer scams. One has been reported in Newcastle but could strike anywhere in County Down.

“This virus is a particularly nasty one and requires either in-depth knowledge of computers or the professional services of someone suitably qualified to remove the virus”, said Newcastle Neighbourhood Inspector  Martin Trainor.  “A member of the public recently advised us that whilst he is proficient with computers, he had to go onto Google to research it and pay a company in the United States $84 to sort his laptop out after it was attacked. It appears that the longer the virus stays the further it can burrow into files on your hard drive.”

Inspector Trainor added that the public should be aware police do not conduct investigations into such matters, nor issue fines regarding those alleged offences. He said if anyone  falls victim to such an attack they should not pay any amount as directed.

This is a scam that has been used intermittently over the UK and vexatiously used several Police Force identities and is very authentic in its appearance therefore could easily deceive an unsuspecting member of the public.

Police are asking people to be wary of unusual requests to use the ‘UKASH’ payments system.

UKASH enables people to shop online when they do not have a bank account, or do not want to use their accounts for an internet transaction. Customers visit a UKASH trader and buy a voucher, which they can then use to shop online, or even send money to friends or relatives overseas.  Do not send UKASH codes to anyone asking you for payment in suspicious circumstances. You may be asked to send a fee in the form of a UKASH voucher code by email, or over the telephone. This is a fraud and you will lose your money.

Only spend UKASH online and at genuine merchants listed on the company’s website and never provide any voucher details to a third-party by any method as it should be treated just like cash. The company provides a range of security tips and advice on its website, www.ukash.com.

Guidance:  The search engine Google (and others) have several examples and provides advice companies that can assist in removing the said virus. Police force identities that have been used to date include West Yorkshire, Cheshire, and the Metropolitan Police.