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The Suburbanite
  • BBB warns of ‘FBI’ computer scam

  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of a malware program that locks up the victim’s computer and demands the victim pay a fine or criminal charges will be filed.

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  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of a malware program that locks up the victim’s computer and demands the victim pay a fine or criminal charges will be filed.
    The BBB received a call Tuesday afternoon from a local consumer whose daughter’s computer was displaying a message from the “FBI” stating she had violated federal law by illegally using or distributing copyright laws and is subject to fines up to $100,000.
    The message continued to state a law enforcement agency has determined the computer’s IP address had accessed child pornography or other illegal content and displayed a webcam image of her daughter in her bedroom.
    The computer is infected with a Citadel malware platform designed to deliver “Reveton ransomware.” The malware is downloaded on the victim's computer by clicking on a compromised website. Some variants of the malware can turn on the victim's webcam and display the victim's picture on their computer. Once infected, the victim’s computer locks up and demands ransom money to unlock the computer.
    To unlock the computer, the user is instructed to pay a fee of $450 using a Green Dot MoneyPak Card available at many local retailers. Once the Green Dot card is obtained, the user is instructed to enter in the Green Dot card's code to release the funds.
    In addition to the ransomware, the FBI warns, Citadel malware can continue to operate on the infected computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this type of malware and the average computer user will not be able to fix the problem.
    The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) suggests the following advice:
    • Do not pay any money or provide personal information
    • Contact a computer professional to remove the malware from the computer
    • Be aware, even if the user is able to unfreeze the computer on his or her own, the malware may still be present on the computer and operate in the background. Certain types of malware have been known to capture personal information, such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers through embedded keystroke programs.
    • File a complaint at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.