Scammers now posing as the FBI to steal victims' money - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Scammers now posing as the FBI to steal victims' money

Posted: Updated:
This message can pop up while you're online or come to you in an email. Source: WBRC video This message can pop up while you're online or come to you in an email. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The FBI says that in a new scam, crooks are going after your money by pretending to be the FBI.

Imagine logging into your email, and seeing an email that looks to be from the FBI. The email says your computer has been locked because you've been looking through or listening to unlicensed video or audio files, or you've viewed prohibited websites such as child pornography. It ends by saying under the law you have 72 hours to pay the fine or else you will be arrested.

"It holds your computer hostage and basically asks you to pay a fee to get access to your computer. This usually uses FBI, DHS (Department of Homeland Security,) other law enforcement names to give it credibility," said Special Agent Robert Berryman, who is head of Birmingham's Cyber Division.

Special Agent Berryman says the FBI would never ask you to pay money over the Internet. In the email, the scammers are telling people to go and purchase a MoneyPak. The email gives a list of locations where they can be purchased.

Special Agent Berryman says a lot of people are falling for this scam.

"It can be sent to the user in a couple of different ways, it can be an email attachment, it can get in from going through infected websites, or malicious websites," he said.

And as soon as the FBI shuts one site down, another one pops up.

"It's a very difficult crime to investigate but we're having luck. There are times when we are successful and certainly working hard to target these guys wherever they may be in the world," said Special Agent Berryman.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has set up a website, IC3.gov. If you've been a victim of a cyber crime log onto this website and report the crime. The website is basically a clearing house, allowing law enforcement to see what scams are impacting what areas. If multiple people are targeted in one area, and everyone files complaints on IC3.gov, then IC3 will take that information, collect it all together and then pass that investigative lead out to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow