Internet users who have accessed adult pornography sites online are being targeted in an extortion scam by fraudsters pretending to be members of An Garda Siochana.
The fraudsters are acquiring email addresses from adult pornography sites that users have visited, according to cyber security sources. These users then receive a mail purporting to come from the gardaí in a bid to extort money.
The text of the email being sent reads: “You committed the offense after being targeted on the internet (advertisement site), viewing video of a child pornography nature; naked photos / videos of minors via the consultation of pornographic site have been recorded by our cyber police and constitute the evidence of your offences.”
It goes on: “For the sake of confidentiality, we are sending you this email, you are requested to make it heard by e-mail by writing your justifications so that they are examined and verified in order to assess the sanctions; this within a strict deadline of 72 hours.”
It is then signed off as “Cordially, An treo Lárnach Garda Síochána na hÉireann, Done and delivered at July /2022”.
Those who answer the mail are then told they must pay sums of money to escape prosecution for child pornography offences, according to one cyber security expert.
A spokesperson for An Garda Siochána said it is not aware “at this time” of a ruse where the victim is emailed on the basis of their internet search history.
“An Garda Siochána has previously highlighted an email scam whereby persons are contacted suggesting they are the subject of some form of judicial/law enforcement action, often referring to sexual offences, and seeking that person to click a link or contact a number,” the spokesperson said.
The advice from AGS in these instances is to contact their local garda station for advice.
“An Garda Siochána also appeals to any person who may have inadvertently or otherwise engaged with this scam, or any similar scam, and subsequently been a victim of this type of fraud to report to their local garda station.”