Media Release: AFP logo used in online scam

Release Date: Thursday, October 18 2012, 10:32 AM

An online scam designed to defraud Australians, has falsely used the Australian Federal Police (AFP) logo in an attempt to lure consumers into paying sums of money to unlock their personal computers.

The AFP has received reports from members of the public advising that while browsing the internet, a ‘pop up’ message has appeared on their computer screen purporting to be from the AFP. The message informs the computer user that their computer is ‘locked’ and requires the user to pay a fee to ‘unlock’ their system.

The AFP does not solicit funds and this message is not associated with the AFP in any way. The appearance of the ‘pop up’ message is due to a virus that is on the personal computer.

AFP Manager of Cybercrime Operations, Commander Glen McEwen says that the public need to be aware of online scams and put appropriate measures in place to avoid getting caught up in them.

“I urge all computer users to be wary of these types of online scams.”

“Users affected by this particular scam should not pay any money and should seek support from a repair centre if they need assistance to remove the virus,” Commander McEwen said

Members of the public are advised to be aware of this scam and to consider the general computer safety tips below:

  • maintain current anti-virus software that is obtained from a reputable source and is regularly updated
  • ensure their operating system is updated to ensure any security vulnerabilities are mitigated
  • use strong passwords to protect their personal information
  • limit the amount of personal information placed on the internet
  • do not provide financial or other personal information to people that you do not know and trust
  • never click on links contained within spam or unexpected emails. 

Anyone who receives a similar request or believes they are a victim of this type of fraud should report it to SCAMwatch on 1300 795 995 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.

The SCAMwatch website also includes helpful hints for spotting scams and keeping personal details safe.

For more information on internet fraud and scams, visit the AFP website: http://www.afp.gov.au/policing/cybercrime/internet-fraud-and-scams.aspx

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333