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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fraudsters using Garda logo to scam money online

Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Crafty con artists are using An Garda Siochana logo to lure internet users in a new type of scam, known as 'ransomware'.

Over the last year, the number of fraudsters using the logo has increased dramatically, with a leading IT firm calling for an increased Gardai presence online.

The use of the logo tends to involve a new type of online scam, known as 'ransomware, in which users' software is hacked and then informs them they must pay a fine to once again gain access, and victims are reportedly reassured with handing over financial details due to the logo.

The fraud insists that a fine must be paid in order to avoid legal action.

This type of hacking came to prominence in Eastern Europe in 2005, but has since spread significantly throughout the rest of the world, targeting specific regions and exploiting local law enforcement imagery to lure victims into a false sense of security.

Gardai highlighted this new type of scamming last year and Irish IT specialists Smarttech have recommended a social media initiative reassuring victims that the use of their logo is not official.

Smarttech CEO Ronan Murphy said: "This has been happening all over Europe for the past year or two," he said.

"The Bundespolizei in Germany had a similar situation as well as the Police force in the UK.

"The Garda Síochána should be taking more measures to warn the public of this scam.

"The advice from Smarttech to anyone facing this situation is to definitely not pay the fine and have the PC repaired by a reputable repair person."

He added: "A social media campaign by the Gardaí could go a long way in decreasing the number of attacks taking place. When people are informed and aware they are much less likely to get taken in."

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