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Action Fraud Warns Public to Be Aware of Ransomware Attacks

Criminals are attempting to extort funds from unsuspecting computer users by impersonating the Metropolitan Police and other police forces internationally. Attacks are made at random and can be targeted at any internet user.

The Met’s Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) warns the public about the scam in which unnamed malware locks up infected PCs. A substantial fee is demanded to be sent via an online payment link to unlock the user’s computer. The e-money product firms cited for payment are UKash or Paysafecard. These firms are legitimate and are not involved in this ransomware scam.

Action Fraud can confirm that this is a hoax designed to alarm users. No money should be transferred. If this message appears users should restart their PC. This has been shown to delete the message. The content of the message states that the user’s access to their computer has been blocked due to their visiting pornographic sites on the web. Receiving this message is not an indication that the computer has been used to view adult material on the internet.

The PCeU explained it was not able to confirm which malware was involved or to elaborate on the infection mechanism beyond stating that infection could happen after visiting “certain websites”.

Report a Ransomware Attack

If you have received this message and have acted on it, report the fraud to Action Fraud. This information will be passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Please note that although the messages claim to be from the Metropolitan Police, computer users anywhere in the UK can receive the demand.

More Help and Information

If you or someone you know has been a victim of this type of fraud,

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