A new cyber scam could cost you big time -- and it looks like it comes from the FBI. But experts say there are ways to protect yourself.
You're cruising the internet when suddenly you're stopped dead in your tracks by a warning supposedly from the feds.
"The FBI has your information and it makes all sorts of threats that you'd been looking at child porn and all sorts of other bad stuff, and it looks like it's coming right from the FBI," said Tim Hobschaidt, a senior technician for Computer Troubleshooters in Bethlehem. "It even has the little seal on it."
Problem is, it's all a hoax. It's a scam called the "Ransom Virus," because it holds your computer hostage.
"It disables the computer because it takes over the computer," said Computer Troubleshooters owner Scott Gingold.
Then it asks for a ransom.
"It will demand money from you, usually over a Moneypak or some other type of Western Union money order," said Hobschaidt.
The virus even takes over your webcam and can snap a picture of you.
"Seniors are falling most prey to this," said Gingold.
Fixing it means removing your entire hard drive, a costly process that can take up to 48 hours.
So where do you get this nasty virus from?
"You can get it from anywhere," said Hobschaidt.
Sometimes it comes from infected ads you click on, he said. Many times though, people actually get the virus from friends.
"We all have friends who send us messages, we look at the messages and then we say, 'This must be safe because it's from my friend,'" said Gingold.
He said many anti-virus programs, [articularly Norton and McAfee, miss it.
"Even with the best product out there, unfortunately, they're always a day late and a dollar short," said Gingold.
To avoid spending hundreds of your own dollars on a costly repair, be very careful what you click on.