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Steamboat Springs Investigators tracking an internet-based financial fraud scheme have made two local arrests. Amar Pinni, age 22, and Jaswinder Sandhu, age 21, are both accused of felony theft for their roles in a multi-state ruse that deprived victims thousands of dollars. Financial records indicate involved funds were transferred out of the country. The two men, residents of The Ponds at 709 Walton Pond Circle, were arrested on warrants from separate incidents stemming from an initial investigation involving ransomware.
Ransomware is a form of malware that usually renders the victim’s computer inaccessible in some way. The problem begins when the internet users clicks on an infected link or email. Victims are typically drawn into the fraudulent transfer of funds in an effort to fix their electronics or regain control over their information.
“Fraud schemes continue to evolve and the complexity of this network is sophisticated,” said Commander Annette Dopplick. “It appears they are utilizing ransomware to compel their targets to self-identify and then deploy sophisticated social engineering techniques to coerce the victim into assisting in the theft. Victims have expressed embarrassment at being taken advantage of; however, we can’t find these thieves when victims don’t come forward.”
Tips to protect yourself:
If you receive a ransomware popup or message on your device alerting you to an infection, immediately disconnect from the Internet to avoid any additional infections or data losses.
In addition to alerting local law enforcement, scams and fraud activity should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3 with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, www.ic3.gov.
Anyone with additional information concerning this fraud and theft is encouraged to contact Detective Silva with the Steamboat Springs Police Department at (970) 879-1144.
Charges are merely accusations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Annette Dopplick, Police Commander – (970) 879-4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.