August 24, 2012
Pop-up messages are a nuisance for computer users, but a new one is freezing computers with a message that appears to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
The pop-up message warns you've been caught illegally downloading copyrighted music or movies, or viewing child pornography. You're told to pay a fine, usually ranging from $100 to $300, to unlock your computer and avoid prosecution. The pop-up instructs you to use Green Dot MoneyPak or another prepaid money card service to pay the fine.
If you've received a pop-up like this, you've clicked on a website that is infected with the Reveton virus. Unfortunately, you may not be able to get rid of Reveton completely without getting professional help—even if you're able to get your computer unlocked. The good news is the message is just a scam and you are not in trouble with the law.
If you spot a scam online or offline, report it to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.