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Better Business Bureau warns consumers about ransomware

Latest malware claims to be FBI seeking money to unlock computer
By: Staff Report
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The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that it's receiving increased reports of ransomware, a form of malware that locks consumers out of their computers and requests they send money to an undisclosed recipient to regain computer access.

Ransomware is usually installed by clicking malicious attachments in email messages, through social media or through other websites. Once infected, computers are unsafe and in some cases, unusable.

The latest reported incident of ransomware masks itself as an official message from the FBI with the intent of extorting money. After the ransomware has infiltrated the computer, a screen appears that states, in part, “Your PC is blocked due to the illegal viewing or distribution of copyrighted content. To unblock the computer, you must pay the fine of $100.”

It may request the money be sent via wire transfer, green dot card or other methods.   

 “No government agency will request you wire money for any sort of violations or issues,” Gary Almond, president of the BBB serving northeast California in  a press release. “If your computer is frozen and requesting money be sent somewhere, contact a computer repair expert immediately.”

For information regarding the validity of computer warnings, phone calls or emails, contact the BBB at necal.bbb.org or call (916) 443-6843.