POLICE are warning Cambridgeshire residents about an online scam that is attempting to trick web users out of hundreds of pounds.

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The scam involves a message flashing up on the screen causing the computer to lock. It claims to be from the Metropolitan Police and informs the user they must pay a £100 fine in order to unlock the computer.

Two recent incidents have happened in Swaffham Bulbeck, where a 62-year-old man paid the money using a card but managed to cancel it before any money had left his account, and in High Barns, Ely, where a 29-year-old man paid using a voucher in a local shop.

The fraud operates through malicious software which infects personal computers after users have accessed certain websites.

Detective Sergeant John Yore said: “This is a fraud and we would urge people not to pay out any money or hand out any bank details. Genuine law enforcement agencies would never contact members of the public via email and demand funds in this way.

“We would advise anyone who has been deceived by such a message and handed their banking details over to report the matter to the card issuer immediately and call police.”

In order to reduce the chances of being infected by this or similar malware police recommend that anti-virus software is both used and, importantly, routinely updated to keep pace with new threats as they are discovered.

In addition, operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS routinely issue updates that patch potential vulnerabilities. Sound advice can be found at www.getsafeonline.org

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