Police pop-up is Internet scam

COMPUTER-users in the Dispatch district have been urged to remain switched on to avoid becoming victims of Internet fraud.

Nottinghamshire police have been alerted to a web scam where members of the public receive an online pop-up message claiming to be from Strathclyde Police or the Metropolitan Police.

The message tells you to call a given number or to pay a fine online for viewing inappropriate or illegal content. A virus then causes the screen to lock.

Samantha Hancock, of Nottinghamshire police’s pre-crime unit, said:

“We would like to make it clear that the police would never ask the public for money under such circumstances and urge anyone who receives the pop-up not to follow the payment instructions or to call the number given.

“They should definitely not pay any money or divulge personal details.”

Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau are aware of the scam. If you receive such a message on your computer, rest assured that no-one has discovered any illegal material on your system.

Removal of the virus needs to be done with care using the operating system’s ‘safe mode’ because an incorrect removal could easily lead to your computer becoming unusable and all your data and files being lost.

In a separate scam reported in the county, a man paid £260 to secure a £1,500 loan after receiving an unsolicited telephone call from a company who knew he had been researching loans on the Internet.

He never received the loan and was verbally abused when he rang the company to enquire about it.

In several other cases, PC owners have also been contacted by callers claiming to represent software companies, including Microsoft.

The callers have offered to install security packages on computers and have been able to access the machines remotely. The packages were installed, but it is not clear whether they are genuine or ‘trojans’ — computer programmes which contain viruses or damaging malware.

If anyone has information about similar scams, they should call the police on 101 or contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.