YUMA, Ariz. – The Yuma Police Department is urging residents to be aware of a computer scam they are calling “ransomware”. Like criminals holding a person hostage and demanding money from their loved ones to set them free unharmed but this scheme involves your computer and its data. Experts say it usually starts with a pop-up alert saying that something is wrong with your computer and that you must hit yes to fix it as Sunil Chopra, the owner of Sunny Computer Services in Yuma explains, “So usually 99 percent of users hit yes then spyware enters your pc”. Once you hit yes the criminal will get what he needs and the ransom process begins, “And they’ll be a message saying your computer is being taken over and you’ll need to pay such
and such to get it resolved” Chopra says.
This issue is affecting many consumers in Yuma. Experts say the elderly are more likely to fall victim to it. We spoke to Best Buy’s Geeksquad to learn more, and it is something they see often. “I’m going to say one out of three that come into the store have this issue”, says Geeksquad service agent Johnathan Howard. If you think paying up will fix the issue Chopra says “When people have started paying and start calling the number that is given in that nobody gets back no one is connected to that number”
Prosecuting these thieves also seems to be a nearly impossible task as Officer Joe Franklin with YPD explains, “This is a criminal matter but sadly most of these things originate overseas” Little can be done to retrieve lost finances but luckily there are ways of fixing your computer, “We do what we call a factory reset basically go in and put it back to factory settings” says Howard. To stop it before it begins, Chopra recommends paying closer attention “First of all read what you’re clicking on nobody reads them that’s the problem”.