Scamwatch: "Peter Pan" virus fraud

Emails claiming to be a booking confirmation contain virus to steal your details

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Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles on the scams they use to trick you out of your hard-earned cash.

This week, a so-called Peter Pan phishing scam that is being sent out to thousands of Britons and is designed to infect your computer with a dangerous virus.

How does it work?

Thousands of people across the UK have received emails claiming to be a booking confirmation for nine tickets for a Christmas pantomime performance of Peter Pan in Bournemouth.

However, the emails are being sent out by fraudsters, who have set up the attached e-tickets to trigger the download of a dangerous computer virus as soon as people click on them.

Internet security experts believe the virus in question is the Cryptolocker virus, which locks users out of their own computers until a ransom is paid and can also be used to steal passwords and login details.

How can I avoid being caught out?

The golden rule when it comes to not falling for phishing scams of this kind is to avoid clicking on any links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious looking emails.

If you are unsure about an email, you can also check its legitimacy by finding a telephone number for the company from an independent source and calling to ask before clicking on anything.

Other steps you can take to protect yourself include ensuring that your anti-virus software is up to date and performing regular scans to check for anything dodgy.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

It is vital to take action as soon as you realise you may have been targeted with a phishing scam.

If, for example, your computer is locked by a virus, then contact Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) as soon as possible.

And try to get online using another computer or tablet to change your passwords on online banking and any other potentially useful websites, including social media sites such as Facebook.

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​Christopher Walken to Portray Hook in 'Peter Pan Live'