Joseph Edwards, 17 year old college student from autism, Berkshire, hanged himself after receiving a spam email found to be from police claiming that he had been caught browsing illegal website and that a fine of 100 pounds needed to be paid in order to stop the police from pursuing him.
Police ransomware of this type doesn’t encrypt files and is normally much easier to purge from infected systems, a factor that underlines the tragedy of what transpired.
After Joseph’s death, a Facebook page for Joesph Edwards was created called “Fake Police Email Scam in Memory of Joseph Edwards”
“He didn’t seem to have any worries known to me. I don’t think he really understood,” Jacqueline Edwards says coroner.
“Joseph was subjected to a scam on the internet, a threatening, fake police link that was asking for money,” his mother explains in the Daily Telegraph reports . “He would have taken it literally because of his autism and he didn’t want to upset Georgia [his sister] or me.”
The spam mail had Cheshire Police insignia, falsely claimed that indecent images had been found in the possession of the mail.
The teenager died from asphyxia as a result of hanging, according to the post-mortem. Coroner Michael Burgess recorded an open verdict.
“He was suspended from the bannister by a ligature,” Coroner Burgess ruled. “Although he undertook that action himself, his intention is not clear from the evidence.” “This scam may have caused him great distress and difficulty,” he says
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