Scam Alert — Virus Freezes Computers and Demands $200 Fine

A new virus posing as an FBI alert is freezing computers and alarming users across the country. Infected computers display a shocking pop-up that tells owners they have illegal materials on their PCs and demands a $200 fine.

How the Scam Works:

Computers infected withscamalert 150x150 Scam Alert    Virus Freezes Computers and Demands $200 Fine the FBI MoneyPak malware display a message using the FBI seal and citing several legal documents. “Your PC is blocked due to at least one of the reasons specified below,” reads the message (image below). The reasons include owning/distributing copyrighted material, pornography or malware.

To unlock the computer, the virus demands a fine (amounts vary from $100 to $300) that must be paid with MoneyPak, a way to send cash without a bank account. It threatens criminal action against those who don’t pay within three days.

The FBI calls the virus Reveton. Unlike many viruses that activate when users open a file or attachment, this one can install itself when users simply click on a compromised website.

What to Do if Your Computer is Infected:

  • Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.
  • Only the most computer-savvy users will be able to remove the virus without help. See Microsoft’s “Security Essentials” and select the “I think my computer is infected” option to contact a support person in your area. You can also search for computer repair shops at BBB.org.
  • Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware might still operate in the background.

For More Information:

See the FBI’s scams webpage for more information and updates on the scam.

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About Emily Patterson