To most of us the FBI seal screams official and honest, but a new internet scam is trying to use the FBI's good reputation to trick computer users everywhere.
The Ruth to the Rescue unit is always keeping an eye out for the latest scams that could target you. Today the Better Business Bureau says you should be on the lookout for the fake FBI alert attacking computers across the nation.
The malware shows up as a pop-up and freezes the computer. It tells owners they have illegal materials on their PCs and demands that they pay a $200 fine.
How the virus works
The virus uses the FBI seal in its message and cites several legal documents. It may caution the computer has been blocked due to a number of reasons including owning/distributing copyrighted material, pornography or malware. It may display a message such as "Your PC is blocked due to at least one of the reasons specified below."
Called Reveton by the FBI, the virus demands that a fine ranging from $100 to as much as $300 be paid to unlock the computer. It wants you to use MoneyPak to pay the fine. That's a way to send cash without a bank account. It warns that criminal action will be taken if the amount is not paid within three days.
The Better Business Bureau says this isn't your average infection either. The activation of this virus does not require the user to open a file or attachment. All it takes is a simple click on a compromised website and it can install itself.
What you should do if your computer is infected
Make sure that you do not pay any money or provide any of your personal information if the scam hits your computer.
Also, it is important to seek help in removing the virus because even if you get your computer to unfreeze, the malware could still linger and operate. To figure out a troubleshooting method, go to Microsoft's "Security Essentials" and click on "I think my computer is infected" to find support near you.
For more information and updates on the fake FBI alert, see the FBI's scams webpage.
Or to go to the Better Business Bureau website.