Group threatens to cyber-attack organisations and publish hundreds of negative reviews online.
Charities are being warned to be aware of attempts to extort hundreds of pounds from them online.
A number of businesses throughout the UK have received online extortion demands from a group calling itself RepKiller Team and it is feared charities could be targeted next.
The group has sent emails demanding payment of between £300 - £500 in Bitcoins, which is a form of digital currency, by a certain date and time.
If their demand is not met, it has threatened to launch a cyber-attack against the organisation and damage its reputation by automating hundreds of negative reviews online.
What to do if you are contacted
- Do not meet their demands and pay the ransom
- Make a report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk
- Retain the original emails
- Make a note of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact
The demand states that once the actions have started, they cannot be undone.
A number of reports have been made to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, over the last week and it is feared charities could also be vulnerable to attack and so are encouraged to be vigilant.
The Charity Commission has warned trustees, charity professionals and volunteers to be aware and to report any demand to Action Fraud.
Its advice explicitly states not to meet the demands and pay the ransom.
Although the regulator for England and Wales, the commission’s warning and advice is relevant to charities in Scotland.
Charities which operate overseas and/or deal with international partners in high risk zones should be particularly vigilant.
Carl Mehta, head of investigations and enforcement operations at the commission, said: “Charities need to be aware of the imminent danger posed by this fraudulent group and to take appropriate steps to protect their charity’s assets and good reputation – both of which could be damaged if the ransom demands of the group are met.
“I urge all charities, if they suspect they may have fallen victim to such extortion or ransom fraud, to report it immediately to Action Fraud.”