A new “drive-by” Internet virus carrying a fake message and claiming to impose a so-called fine from the Federal Bureau of Investigation may be targeting email addresses owned by Connecticut residents, Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein warned in a press release.
The virus is designed to extort money from its victims. An email purportedly from the FBI contains a Web link that, once clicked and opened, downloads and installs a virus on the user’s computer.
The virus immediately locks the computer and displays a screen stating there has been a violation of federal law and that the user’s IP address was identified by the FBI for viewing child pornography and other illegal content.
The message then demands money through a 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,” Jepsen said. “It’s important for consumers to be informed and to exercise caution to protect themselves from scams like this. 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.”
In addition to the message seeking to extort payment, the virus may continue to operate on the computer and could be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud. Infected computers may not operate normally, and users may require the assistance of a local computer expert to remove 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,” Commissioner Rubenstein said. “Install appropriate protections, keep them up to date and communicate with family members to be sure that everyone understands and practices safe online behavior.”
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.