Suspected ransomware scammer arrested in San Mateo County | #ransomware | #cybercrime

(KRON) — Deputies with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office arrested a fraud suspect on Wednesday who is believed to be part of a larger international scam.

A 62-year-old local resident was the victim of fraud via ransomware on March 12. SMCSO said the victim was first contacted by the scammer through email.

Emails led to phone calls, and ultimately the scammer was able to remotely gain control of the victim’s computer, the Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies identified the suspect as 38-year-old Hongliang He of Southern California.

He allegedly posed as a representative of a large antivirus and cyber security software company and told the victim he was entitled to a refund.

“Over the course of a few hours, the victim was told he needed to pay a large sum of cash to correct an error in the refund amount. The suspect arrived at the victim’s residence a few hours later and collected the money,” SMCSO wrote.

The following day, the victim contacted the Sheriff’s Office and reported the scam.

He was later arrested and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on suspicion of obtaining money by false pretenses, and conspiracy to commit crime.

Sheriff’s detectives believe this is part of a larger international scam and there may be additional victims. The Sheriff’s Office provided KRON4 with He’s mugshots in hopes that additional victims may recognize him and come forward.

Hongliang He is seen in a mugshot released by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office warned the public, “Use caution and avoid sharing personal banking information with anyone who solicits that information from you online or over the phone, especially if you are asked to provide money.”

Anyone with further information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Matthew West at [email protected] or 650-363-4050.

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