Over the last several days, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line has seen an increase in complaints from residents who have received a pop-up on their computer claiming to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The aggressively designed “alert” displays a bogus notification that states the computer has been blocked due to the viewing or distribution of child pornography, illegally distributing or using copyrighted material, or spreading malware to other computers.
The fraudulent virus immediately locks the user of out of their computer, than displays a locked screen demanding the user pay a fine of several hundred dollars using prepaid money card services or wire transfers. It appears the geographic location of the user’s IP address determines what payment services are offered. Finally, the message claims that once the fine is paid, the computer will be released back into the hands of the user. This extortion technique is being used by cyber criminals to frighten victims into sending money, and to gain access to personal information since the malware can continue to operate on the compromised computer, giving the scammer the ability to commit online banking and credit card fraud.
If you have received this or something similar do not follow payment instructions. If your computer is infected with this malware, you should immediately contact a reputable computer expert for assistance. Unfortunately, repairing your computer is likely to cost you both time and money. Reports can be made to the Sheriff’s Office Fraud line at 477-1242, or an online complaint can be filed at www.ic3.gov. # # #