The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office is advising the public about a ransomware fraud scam, which has been circulating throughout the area in recent weeks.
According to Captain Paul Barta, the target clicks an email link that locks their computer, which requires a “ransom” to be paid to regain control. The scammer then requests personal banking information and directs their victims to purchase gift cards and provide the numbers on the back of the cards to pay the ransom.
Investigators say there’s no guarantee that access to the computer will be restored once the ransom is paid.
Authorities say investigative options for such scams can be limited, because the scammers take measures to conceal their identities.
The Sheriff’s Office is advising the public to be cautious of such scams and any online or telephone request for personal information or payment in the form of gift cards.