STAY ALERT TO BOGUS ONLINE MONEY SCAM

POLICE in Ballymoney are warning the public to be vigilant following a report of a scam targeting computer users.

Police have received a report of a person receiving a message to their computers, purporting to be from the Metropolitan Police.

The computer is frozen on a warning message stating their computer has been locked due to surfing activity and that the computer is inactive and the system cleaner is in progress and they must make a payment of £100 before their computer can be unlocked.

It also states that if this is not paid within 72 hours that they will be fined between £2,000 to £8,000. It seems that the computer may also be infected with a virus and the scam may demand payment in the form of UKash vouchers.

A Ballymoney police spokesman said: “These messages are fraudulent and police never send out messages like this. If you receive suspicious messages you are advised to report it to police.

“Police are warning local people to be vigilant and protect themselves against unscrupulous criminals who are constantly identifying and developing new methods to defraud innocent people.

“Police are also 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. However, police are aware of what appears to have been attempts by criminals to defraud computer users.

“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.”