Malware Holds Innocent Consumers at Ransom

  
     
November 29, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Ca., – Nov. 29, 2012 – Better Business Bureau is receiving increased reports of ransomware, a form of malware that locks consumers out of their computers and requests they send money to an undisclosed recipient to regain computer access. 

Ransomware is usually installed by clicking malicious attachments in email messages, through social media or through other websites. Once infected, computers are unsafe and in some cases, unusable.
 
The latest reported incident of ransomware masks itself as an official message from the FBI with the intent of extorting money. After the ransomware has infiltrated the computer, a screen appears that states, in part, “Your PC is blocked due to the illegal viewing or distribution of copyrighted content. To unblock the computer, you must pay the fine of $100.” 

It may request the money be sent via wire transfer, green dot card or other methods.   

 “No government agency will request you wire money for any sort of violations or issues,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “If your computer is frozen and requesting money be sent somewhere, contact a computer repair expert immediately.”

For information regarding the validity of computer warnings, phone calls or emails, contact BBB at necal.bbb.org or call 916-443-6843.


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As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.