FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Connecticut residents are warned to keep an eye out for an email claiming to impose a fine from the FBI.
This email carries a new “drive-by” virus designed to extort money, Attorney General George Jepsen and state Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein said Thursday.
An email supposedly from the FBI contains a weblink that, once clicked and opened, downloads a virus onto the computer, they said. The virus will lock the computer and a screen will pop up that says the user has violated federal law and that the IP address had been identified by the FBI for viewing child pornography and/or other illegal content, according to a statement from the state Department of Consumer Protection.
The message then demands that money be paid through prepaid money card service as a “fine” to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Our office has received complaints from consumers who we believe have been victimized by this malicious email scam,” said Jepsen. “Never click on a link or open an email attachment from someone you do not know and trust. I would urge any Connecticut resident who receives this email to report it immediately.”
Once opened, the virus could continue to operate and conduct further identity theft through online banking and credit card fraud. It is recommended that if you think your computer is infected, you take it to a professional to assist in removing the virus.
“Computer crime is a serious, ongoing concern, and it’s critically important that consumers remain vigilant to protect the information stored on their personal computers,” Rubenstein said. It's important for users to keep their anti-virus protections up to date, he said.
If you believe you are the victim of this or any other Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, complaints can be filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, on its Web site at www.ic3.gov.