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Published on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Warning for Travelex users as hackers demand ransom

Travellers are being warned to look out for scam requests from fake Travelex websites after it emerged that hackers who infected the foreign exchange company's systems have demanded a ransom.

The London-based company's website remains offline in 30 countries following the New Year's Eve hack, which was discovered on January 1. Staff are only able to carry out pen and paper transactions across its thousands of sites.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the attack and the force issued a statement saying enquires are ongoing.

It is understood the attackers are demanding payment in exchange for either restoration of IT systems or the preservation of customer data, with a deadline imposed.

Consumer association Which? says fraudsters are likely to try to exploit this situation by sending people scam requests to 'verify' their data via fake Travelex websites.

"Travelex and other retailers must urgently provide as much clarity as possible because many customers are worried and some have been left high and dry and unable to access the money they have ordered," Which? said.

"People should be on alert for scam requests to 'verify' their data via fake Travelex websites, as fraudsters are likely to try to exploit this situation."

Travelex says it is working with police and has deployed teams of IT specialists and external cyber-security experts who have been working continuously. It insists no customer data has been leaked.

The Travelex websites in Europe, Asia and the US have been offline for more than a week with a message to visitors that the service is down due to 'planned maintenance'.

Other companies that use Travelex to sell currency have also been forced to suspend their online forex sales. These include Virgin Money, First Direct and Sainbury's Bank.

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