Police warn of porn-shaming scam

Four Abbotsford residents have reported that their computers seized up and $100 was demanded to fix the problem.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is warning the public about an Internet porn-shaming scam.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the APD received its first complaints about the scam, which first began in Eastern Europe and Russia in 2011, about a week ago. He said so far four people have reported it to the APD.

Complainants have reported that a message has popped up on their computer screen which states that “local law enforcement” has identified them as someone who has viewed images of child sex abuse or some form of pornography, even though they haven’t.

It then seizes up their desktop or laptop computer, and the message informs them that, by transferring a $100 fine to a certain account, their computer will be unlocked.

The transfer appears to be for a location in Europe.

MacDonald said sending the $100 does not fix the computer, which has actually been attacked by malware software.

The software generally hits older computers that are more vulnerable to computers viruses, worms and the like, MacDonald said.

It then requires a professional to remove the malware (malicious software) before the computer is operational again.

MacDonald said the message can also be sent as part of an email attachment.