An email aimed at “tricking” users into believing that their devices are infected with Wannacry ransomware has been making the rounds, according to the United Kingdom’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting center, Action Fraud.
Action Fraud received almost 300 reports of these emails demanding users pay bitcoins to keep their files from being deleted. However, in the case of these specific emails, that threat isn’t real and are “just a phishing exercise to try and extort money.”
A similar scam used a pop-up to tell users that their devices were infected with Wannacry and told them to call a number to get the nonexistent virus removed in May 2017. Once the user called the fake tech-support line, they would be scammed out of their money in exchange for the “removal” of the “virus.” In that same month another email-based phishing scam used Wannacry to get people to click on suspicious links spoofed to look like a British telecommunications company’s website.
Action Fraud recommends that users keep their antivirus up to date, never call numbers given to them in pop-ups, be careful with email links, and not make payments in bitcoin or email back scammers.