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By Jon Thompson
Police are warning citizens over a combined computer virus and Internet scam that has struck some Dryden residents.
When it strikes a computer, the virus exhibits the logo of the RCMP, informing users they have violated copyright infringement or downloaded illegal pornography. It details the applicable money-wiring businesses users should use to pay their fine of $100 within 72 hours or risk being imprisoned from one to nine years or face a fine of up to $250,000.
“It’s not even mine. A friend of mine gave it to me to put anti-virus software on it,” said Chris Sidney, who was impacted by the scam. It then inserted a virus on the computer, eating more files the longer the machine is left running.
“I don’t want any of my friends or family to get nailed by this so I want to get the word out so they don’t get hit by this or scammed by this guy and pay the $100.”
OPP Sgt. Michelle Peeple said local police has received a couple of calls and stressed users should not pay any fine to law enforcement that is expressed online.
“Rarely are we able to track them down. A lot of times, they’re out of province or overseas or out of the country,” she said. “The RCMP are warning of this and basically, don’t pay the fake fine that pops up. It sounds like you’re going to have to use that money to get your computer cleaned up.”
Local computer repair shop, Apatco Technologies has received a small volume of computers that have been infected with the virus that accompanies the scam. Apatco’s Morris Soulliere recommended being conscious when visiting websites and vigilance when it comes to junk email.
“Some of them are easy, depending on if someone can shut down their computer fast enough and not reload it. It affects almost every file there is and that would mean a complete OS install. I’d say 60 to 70 per cent of the time, I can get rid of it and it’s good to go.”