Fake FBI computer virus tricks users into sending money

Fake FBI computer virus tricks users into sending money

Posted:
The virus tells the user that they must pay a fee to remove it. The virus tells the user that they must pay a fee to remove it.
"If the FBI were going after you, would they tell you?" said Todd Knowles of Big Bang Computers asked. "Probably not," he said, laughing. "If the FBI were going after you, would they tell you?" said Todd Knowles of Big Bang Computers asked. "Probably not," he said, laughing.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

LENOIR CITY (WATE) - The so-called FBI virus has come to East Tennessee, corrupting computers of unsuspecting victims despite notifications from the real FBI that it does not send unsolicited emails to the public.  

The crooks have stayed ahead of the game by creating different versions of the scam.

Computer users who have experienced this fake FBI lockdown infection first receive a full screen warning.

Sometimes there's an FBI logo, sometimes not, but too often, people click on the site and their trouble begins.

"If the FBI were going after you, would they tell you?" said Todd Knowles of Big Bang Computers asked. "Probably not," he said, laughing.

Knowles is familiar with the phony website that can lock down your computer for some bogus security reason.

To get it running again, through MoneyPak, you pay a $200. Unfortunately, people have fallen for it.

"It's basically malware. They call it ransomware because it holds your computer ransom for money," Knowles said.

Yet, he says, people fall for it all the time.

"I've had customers come in and say they have paid the MoneyPak fee," he said. "They put the code in and it didn't work. It's just a scam for them to get money."

Knowles operates a computer repair office in Lenoir City. Three or four times a day, he'll get calls from potential customers saying they activated the virus on their computer.

"They'll click the "x" on a pop up just to get it going, but a lot of times the way those virus are set up, if you hit an "x", that will actually execute the virus," he said.
    
Online you can find fixes to manually remove the virus if your computer has been corrupted. Some sites charge a fee, others do not.

To get rid of the virus, Knowles pulls out the hard drive and then slaves it onto another computer.

"That way it would start this hard drive and see what data was on it without actually starting the operating system or software that's running on it," he said. "Usually in a couple of hours we'd have it done and ready to go."

Remember, that this is not a real warning. This type of financial cyber crime is known as a fear-based scam. It's meant to scare you.

As of right now, the fake FBI virus is affecting mostly Windows users, but some Mac users are starting to see issues with it, too.

Having the virus removed by a professional will cost you from $70 to $200. 


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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