Officers are warning members of the public about an email scam sweeping the region through which recipients are told Royal Mail are holding an item for them.
Fraud officers at Humberside Police say the scam targets both businesses and personal users and involve persuading the victim to click on a link within the email that infects their computer with CryptoLocker ransomware.
The ransomware encrypts the victim’s system and a window appears requesting a payment, to be made in Bitcoins, in order to decrypt the files.
Often it warns that unless between £300 to £360 is paid immediately, the cost will rise to £600 to £660.
The emails sent fall into two types:
• It states Royal Mail is holding a letter and there will be a £5 per day charge if it is not collected. The email then instructs the victim to click on a link to get it resent, but instead the link infects the operating system with the ransomware.
• The second form of email states a parcel could not be delivered and is awaiting collection. A link on the email is provided for more information. This takes the victim to what looks like part of the Royal Mail website, where the victim is asked to enter a code – believed to be in the original email.
Once this is entered, the victim is instructed to download an application. Instead, the ransomware is downloaded.
Michael Wood from the force Major Crime Unit said: “There are a number of simple steps you can take to protect yourself from scams like this.”
He continued: “Look at who the email is addressed to. Is it generic or has it been specifically addressed to you? It also pays to look at the sender’s address. Does it seem legitimate?
“Take a closer look at the quality of the images included. Are they good enough to have come from Royal Mail?
“Never open attachments from unsolicited emails, no matter who they appear to be from.
“Even if an email appears to be from a legitimate company, don’t click on any links supplied. Go to the firm’s website and log in from there.”
For more information on scam emails which claim to be from the Royal Mail click here
If you believe you have been affected by these, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk