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RCMP Warn of Extortion Scams

[Published Information via RCMP Release]

As part of Fraud Prevention Month, Nova Scotia RCMP is reminding citizens about the dangers of extortion scams.

Extortion scams can occur when individuals receive pop-up messages on their computer stating that they have accessed an inappropriate website, or that their computer contains inappropriate images or videos (e.g., pornography, violence, terrorism, etc.)  Victims are then told that their computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address has been recorded and that they need to pay via Bitcoin, Ukash, PaySafe Card, or another form of payment to unlock their computer.  These pop-up messages falsely appear to originate from the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), or another legitimately named organization.

In the past year, Nova Scotia RCMP has received over 60 complaints about these types of extortion scams.  In order to protect yourself, always be aware of pop-up messages or a banner with a ransom request.  Specifically:

-Never click on a pop-up that claims your computer has a virus.

-Avoid opening e-mails and attachments from unknown sources, especially .zip files.

-Never send money to “unlock” a computer.

-Ensure your anti-virus software is active and up-to-date, and regularly schedule scans to search and remove already existing malware.

-Keep your operating system and software up to date.

-Make regular backups of important files.

For more information on different types of extortion scams, or to report a scam, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.

Source: Media Release

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