The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is warning about a computer scam that has apparently hit at least one person locally and prompted a call to law enforcement.
The scam apparently involves a computer virus or Trojan horse of some type that locks up a user's computer while surfing a questionable site on the Web.
A red screen flashes and a verbal message activates informing the user that the FBI has frozen the user's computer due to some supposed violation and demands $300 be paid to the "FBI" via "money pac" before the computer will be unfrozen.
"This appears to be some sort of scam/virus that would probably require a professional to fix as the FBI doesn't not conduct investigations this way," said Deputy Chief Gordon Dibble.
There is information about the scam and how to deal with it that can be found in a Google search.
Dibble questioned whether some of solutions found online might also be a scam and suggested that inexperienced, or non-expert users contact a computer professional for assistance if they suspect such a problem.
Users should have good virus protection installed, Dibble noted, and said users should be careful about their Web travel.
My take: I get a lot of e-mails from people around the community who have added me to their address book with what to me are dangerous attachments or bogus links. This means that people who downloaded such an attachment or opened such a link got their computer infected.
Unless you're on guard against such malware, and especially if you use Windows, it's pretty much inevitiable you will get some sort of virus on your machine.
The best computer security is: never open attachments or click on links that you're not sure about. I never open attachments of any kind that are part of a chain e-mail (forwarded from one person to another) or click on links that look like they will take me to a Web site I'm not confident is legitimate.
If you're not sure of an e-mail communication ... even from your mother ... don't open it, don't download the attachment, don't click the link. If necessary, call and verify that the person meant to send that e-mail to you.