The latest phone scam reported is a caller who identifies themselves as representing Avista Utilities and from the "Disconnection Department." They will tell you that you are behind payments and threaten a shut down should you not pay them over the phone. The targets of this scam are generally corporate accounts and sometimes small business. Residential customers, although seldom, are sometimes contacted as well.
The most recent phone number that these calls come from is (888)606-4415
Frozen Computer? Money Demanded?
A new extortion technique is being deployed by cyber-criminals. The latest version of the ransomware is intended to frighten victims into sending money to the perpetrators by instilling a fear of prosecution. The newest version of the malware also claims that the user’s computer activity is being recorded using audio, video, and other devices luring the victim to a "drive-by" download website where the ransomware is installed on the user's computer.
Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is displayed warning the user they have violated United States Federal Law. The message further declares that a law enforcement agency has determined that a computer using the victim's IP address has accessed child pornography and other illegal content. To unlock the computer, the user is instructed to pay a fine using prepaid money card services. The geographic location of the user's PC determines what payment services are offered. In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud.
If you have received this or something similar do not follow payment instruction. It is suggested that you:
Keep operating systems and legitimate antivirus and antispyware software updated
Contact a reputable computer expert to assist with removing the malware.
You're Going To Be Arrested!!
This is the battle cry of one of the most recent phone scams in the Ponderay area. You will receive a phone call from a number that is "spoofed". The caller will identify themself as an agent from one of the various federal agencies and will inform you that you owe an amount of money for whatever reason and that in order to save yourself from arrest, you are required to wire money to a location.
There have been two recent incidents in Ponderay. In one, the victim was told that their on line drug purchases from a South American Country were being traced. In another case, the victim was accused of fraud. In both cases, the victims were told that if they didn't pay within the hour, an officer would be at their residence to place them under arrest.
These scammers are relentless and will call repeatedly.