Gardaí are warning the public of a computer scam which misuses police logos in an attempt to extract money from victims by locking them out of their computers and asking them to pay a fine in order to get the computer unlocked.
There have been incidents of attacks from this particular computer virus in other countries and computer users here may also be targeted. The malicious software detects the country in which the computer is located and downloads a localised graphic with the appropriate language and police logo and locks down the user’s screen. The message usually accuses the victim of engagement in illegal activity and demands the payment of a “fine” in order to return control of the computer to its owner.
A Garda spokesperson today stressed that this supposed message from An Garda Síochána is a scam saying:
“Gardaí would never contact members of the community in this way. People should not share their bank details or pay out any money. If your computer becomes infected by this malicious software, all affected computers should be repaired by a reputable repair person. Where a person has been deceived into paying money, a report should be made to their local Garda Station. It is important that computer users run anti-virus software and keep it as up to date as possible.”