The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple complaints of ransomware fraud over the past several  weeks.

In this scam the target clicks an email link that locks their computer requiring a ransom to be  paid to regain control. Scammers request personal banking information and direct victims to  purchase gift cards and provide the numbers on the back of the cards to pay the ransom.

Investigative options in these cases can be limited because those responsible utilize online means to conceal their identities and often operate across international borders to complicate detection  and avoid prosecution. There is no guarantee that access to the computer will be restored once  the ransom is paid.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to be cautious of these scams and any online or  telephone request for personal information or payment in the form of gift cards. Local  businesses can help stop these scams by warning customers that are attempting to purchase gift  cards of excessive value.