Fraud Alerts/PSAs

March 10, 2017: A Click of a Link Can Lead to Memories, Documents Held Hostage

Ransomware Scam GraphicAn inadvertent click in an email or website can lead to the unexpected download of software that locks the user out of their own computer, holding their files hostage.

In the Ransomware Scam, the computer user is locked out of their computer files unless they pay a ransom within a stated deadline. If they fail to pay, all their computer files are deleted by the ransomware.

Parents are a preferred target of ransomware. Hackers have found that parents are much more likely to pay ransomware demands in order to keep their computer files containing photos of their children. 

In 2016, legislation co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office made it illegal to extort people or organizations by infecting computers with ransomware.


  • Backup all important computer documents and photos to a removable hard drive or a reputable cloud service or both
  • Don’t click on links from unknown emails or websites
  • Only download software – especially free software – from sites you know and trust

Click here for an infographic with more information about the rising threat of the ransomware scam.

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