CHICAGO, IL- August 1, 2013 – Viruses are a common problem that almost every computer user has dealt with, but the latest is designed to frighten, introduce the virus, and extort money from consumers: The FBI MoneyPak Ransomeware Virus. With this scam, a message with the FBI’s logo shows up on your computer saying the user is doing something illegal, such as distributing child pornography or violating copyright laws. The screen tells the user to pay a hefty fine to get the computer unlocked, and then demands credit card information. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) wants consumers to be aware of this virus scam and to take action to avoid it.
The virus can show up in several different ways on consumers’ computers. For example, it can pull up the victim’s picture from their computer’s webcam. Next to the picture, there is a statement saying that the person committed a serious crime, and that the accusation will be made public if a payment wasn’t immediately submitted. In other cases, there is a blaring warning stating that “Your computer has been locked!” Either way, the message always leads the user to the MoneyPak portal to pay a fine.
“I’ve had personal experience with this virus. My child’s computer was infected with this virus, saying it was FBI locked, so I completely understand everyone’s concern with this virus,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Even though there is a legit-looking FBI logo, consumers need to know not to follow the scam’s instructions to pay money. Instead, have a computer professional take a look at it instead.”
The BBB offers the following tips to people who experience the FBI MoneyPak Ransomeware Virus:
- Do not pay any of the instructed fines. Never follow the steps to pay money in the message’s instructions. Do not log onto any bank accounts or other important accounts.
- Don’t unfreeze the virus by yourself. Even if you are able to unfreeze your computer without paying fines, the virus malware may still exist. Certain types of malware are able to pick up information such as credit card numbers, user names and passwords.
- Contact a computer professional. To remove this virus, seek help from a computer professional. He or she will be able to completely remove the virus malware that steals personal information. Professionals use programs that usually cost between $60 and $85 for the computer user.
For more tips and information about FBI computer scams, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.