In today’s digital world, email is one of the main ways we contact each other. 14 years ago, Congress signed a set of rules called the CAN-SPAM Act designed to protect consumer privacy and limit the amount and type of unsolicited marketing messages they receive.
Scam Alert: Malware Posing as FBI
Allison here. If you get a pop up that says it is from the FBI and you need to pay $100 or $200 to have your computer unlocked, don’t pay the fee! The pop up is a virus, a scam, and the FBI would never employ such a tactic, so paying the fine won’t get you anywhere.
This virus is known as Citadel Ransomware, or the FBI Moneypak Virus, and it works by locking up your computer, claiming the FBI has found illegal activity on it. The pop up could say this activity is a variety of things, such as child pornography, copyrighted content, or an illegal attempt to access data from your computer. To unlock your computer, the virus demands that a $100 or a $200 fee be paid within a certain amount of time, ranging from two hours to 72 hours. If you don’t pay within the time frame, the message threatens to arrest you or to open up an investigation. To make it extra intimidation, the virus accesses you web cam, making it seem like the FBI or another government identity has video footage of you committing the alleged crime.
However, none of this is true. The FBI doesn’t lockdown computers and certainly wouldn’t demand a fine or press charges against you without first doing an investigation. If you, or someone you know, gets the malware and sees the pop up, follow these instructions to remove it properly. If the instructions don’t work, you’ll have to hire a professional to remove it. Most other anti-malware or anti-virus programs won’t work against this virus, and paying the fine certainly doesn’t remove it. It’s an especially tricky virus because it locks up your computer, limiting your options in removing it.