DRPS warning public of internet scams

Investigators with the DRPS Financial Crimes Unit are warning the public of two Internet-based scams that are becoming more popular as people work from home during the pandemic.

The first is a ransomware/computer extortion scam in which a potential victim receives an email stating a virus has been secretly installed on their computer.

“If the victim doesn’t send along $1,900 in bitcoin, incriminating photos, videos and computer history data will be exposed. The scammer shares the victim’s banking/email passwords for ‘proof’ they have information on them,” reads a media release.

The second scam becoming more popular is known as spear phishing, in which the scammer targets a person or business pretending to be someone they know from work via email or text.

“Then a request is made for either banking information, to click on a link (a virus) or to purchase gift cards. Scammers are using names familiar with the targeted victims, however the email addresses are slightly different,” reads a media release.

To stay safe online, here are some tips:

– Install and update proper Internet security software;

– Do not open attachments from unknown sources;

– Check the email address domain carefully and verify its authenticity;

– If you receive a request via text or email from a known contact, telephone your contact directly to ensure it is legitimate;

– Do not engage with outside agencies contacting you by phone or computer message, telling you that your computer has virus and needs to be fixed;

– Do not allow remote access to your computer;

– If you believe your computer or electronic device has been compromised, contact a reputable service provider to clean any potential malware; and,

– Change all passwords for the device including any applications installed on the device.

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