(11 votes)

Computer is Locked

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How the scam works:

Most of us use our computers every day, whether for work, to socialize or to get our daily dose of news from around the world. Yet with increased computer use there is the increased risk of being scammed by computer hackers. The most recent outbreak, so far only reported in Canada, US, and Great Britain but likely to spread, is one of the more malicious internet scams to come along in some time.

The Ransomware scam usually begins when you try to download something or access a new file. Instead of your download beginning, a box will pop up on your screen advising you that your computer has been locked and can only be unlocked if you pay $100-300 through an online payment program. Clicking on the download button activates a virus that locks your computer.

The message features a warning that the victims’ PC contains banned material and requires payment of a fine before the PC can be unlocked.

The Trojan displays a warning from the FBI or the Metropolitan Police, or any of a number of other law enforcement agencies, in a box that takes up the entire screen. The warning indicates that the victim’s PC contains illegal content and they will be unable to access their PC until the fine is paid. The scammers are asking for payment of $300 (or 100 pounds) through the financial transfer services Green Dot, MoneyPak, Paysafecard or the Ukash.

Many victims will panic and send the money, yet their computer remains locked. To make matters worse, the scammers are representing themselves to be part of the police or government, making most victims react even more quickly and sending the money to the bogus organization.

How to avoid:

It needs to be said that no government or police agency would lock someone’s computer in order to be paid. If you accidentally download this malware, do not send money; your computer will not be fixed. Contact a computer technician to remove the malware from your computer; this is the only way you will be able to fix your computer. Alternatively, run your computer is safe mode (You can do this by hitting the F8 key right after start up, you can hit it as many times as needed until the screen pops up). Run the computer in safe mode with networking (very important) -- this will allow you to run the internet. Go and download a program called Rogue killer and run it! Then reboot, and it should have killed the virus. Locate the outdated program in your computer and either update or delete it immediately.

However, you should always have an antivirus software installed on your computer.

Make your friends and family aware of this scam by sharing it, using the buttons provided. 

There are 4 comments

  • On Saturday, March 08, 2014, Stuart wrote:

    Jimmy... Yes, I would bet on it...
    Got lured in on a "car wrap" one my self...
    The sent me the check, I cash it, keep my $300 and sent the balance of About $2600 to the one that would wrap the car... yea right...
    But, can a scammer be sued for passing bad checks???

  • On Thursday, February 27, 2014, Marlin Schuck wrote:

    Several months ago I almost fell for this same scam. Luckily I spoke to my neighbor , whose wife had the same trouble before. They hacked her laptop which has a built-in web cam, and it showed her playing an on-line game. Thanks to them and best buy, I was able to get it remove the next day. so now I run an anti-virus program every 2 days to be on the safe side.

  • On Sunday, November 10, 2013, Dean in Tucson wrote:

    Just this past week I received the very same Ransomware example you describe above. Yours was the best advice in the how to avoid section. There was no way in hell I would've paid those asshats $300 to unlock my computer which I figured they wouldn't do anyway. Thank you, a site of this caliber and integrity is what's needed on the internet since there is most often no way to really tell if you're being scammed or not. You are often simply left with your own intuition about whether something is legit on or not. Many many thanks for what you do. I will certainly let my friends know about you!

  • On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, Jimmy McPherson wrote:

    I got a money gram (or what looks like a postal money gram) stating that it is from secret shoppers. I was instructed to cash it keep $150 and send the rest on to the next person, and given a name and address to send it to. It looks really suspicious to me. Is this a scam that's going around?

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