The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants people to be on alert for an internet virus that claims a person has illegal content on their computer and must pay a fine to resolve the issue.
But the FBI says the message is a scam that aims to extort money from people. It says the agency wouldn’t send an email seeking payment for fines.
The agency – which has an office in Charlotte – says it has received many calls and complaints about the scam.
On its website, the FBI said the virus, known as the Reveton ransomware, can install itself on a computer after someone clicks on a compromised site.
The person then gets a message that their computer has been blocked because of they’ve violated federal copyrighting, anti-pornography or other laws and must pay a fine, the agency said.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center says there is no easy way to remove the malware once the computer is infected.
Anyone who receives a suspicious email can report it to www.ic3.gov. Authorities also suggest people contact a computer professional to remove the malware.