by Morinville News Staff
St Albert RCMP report seven complaints this summer of a new scam that has hit St. Albert and area. The ransomware or sextortion scams have on-line fraudsters demanding large sums of bitcoin to be paid to them to avoid having their information released to the public.
Police say the ransomware scam means victims receive a pop-up message on their computer stating the victim’s IP address was used to visit websites containing pornography, child pornography, zoophile and child abuse.
“Your computer also contains video files with pornographic content, elements of violence and spam messages with terrorist motives,” the message reads.
Police say the messages are designed to appear as if coming from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and tell consumers to pay to unlock their computer – often in bitcoin.
RCMP are not sending this message and do not demand payment to unlock computers, St. Albert RCMP explain.
Police call the second scam sextortion. In it, victims are lured into an online relationship through social media or pornographic websites.
RCMP say that as the relationship builds, victims are encouraged to use the computer’s camera and the scammer will coerce the victim to perform a sexual act on camera. The victim is later advised that the event was recorded and to pay a fee or the video will be released.
St. Albert RCMP are asking the public to report any suspicious activity to 780-458-7700 and also to report the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.