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But you won’t get a call from a utility worker demanding that you make an immediate payment to them, says Chan.The “cable reward” scam is a slight variation that uses the carrot instead of the stick.C., field office Depending on the variation, you may see a warning banner from a “government agency” or “software maker.” In a different type of attack, known as Cryptolocker, you might simply get a pop-up message demanding ransom in exchange for the encryption key to restore the machine, he says.The “fine” — aka ransom — ranges from about 0 to 0, says Savage.The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars.However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.The scam: Your computer screen freezes displaying an FBI warning banner: Illegal content has been detected, and the computer will remain locked until you pay the fine.The scam is known as Ransomware, and the notifications “look very official,” says Nickolas Savage, assistant special agent in charge of the cybercrime branch of the FBI’s Washington, D.
The tipoff: Utility companies send warnings, or use automated calls as reminders.The tipoff: When banks freeze a card for suspicious activity, the cardholder usually has to initiate the call, King says.Hang up, and dial the number on the back of your card.It works because you downloaded something secretly salted with malware, which the criminal used to hijack your computer and encrypt your data or operating system, says Savage.
The tipoff: Government agencies and private software companies don’t lock up computers and assess fines.Regularly back up data, download software patches and update anti-virus and anti-malware programs, he says.