The news last night, said a lot of people are getting phony pages on their
computers saying that the FBI has targeted our computer for porno and it looks
serious and once you click on it, your computer locks up and you can’t use it
all; you can’t get rid of it and it costs hundreds of dollars to get it fixed.
Local people are also getting phone calls to this effect and somehow they try
to get you to wire them money through Western Union. Have you heard of this?
How do we avoid it? They said that it isn’t something we download, it just
suddenly appears when we are surfing the web. How can I avoid something like
In this excerpt from
Answercast #68, I look at fake FBI scams and how your own skepticism can
keep you safe.
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Well to answer the question in the middle – yes, I’ve heard of scams like
this for quite some time. They’re really nothing all that new. The phone calls
in particular are a fairly common way over the past couple of years for
malicious parties to gather either your money – or to actually have them take
over remote control of your computer where they then start installing
There’s really no way to prevent this in an absolute sense. The single most
important thing you can do is… do what you’ve already done.
Be aware of the issue. Be suspicious; be skeptical.
Understand that, for example, this is not how the FBI operates! They don’t
throw up big warning screens on your computer if they suspect you of
something. If they suspect you of something, they’re going to confirm their
suspicions and then come and have a talk with you person to person.
So, the issue here is that it is really more a matter of education and
awareness. I think that that’s really what the news program was trying to get
across. The important thing is simply don’t fall for these things. If you see
something like this, ignore it. Close it. Move along.
How does it show up?
Now the other part of this is how does this message even show up?
Well, most often, it shows up on websites that are typically less than
honorable themselves. So the number one rule there of course is to avoid
visiting those kinds of sites.
Now what kinds of sites are those?
Well, it’s hard to say. I have an article on, “What
does it mean for a site to be suspicious?” but it’s really vague. It’s
really hard to define in absolute terms. The fact is that even well-meaning
sites can sometimes get hacked and can have malware put on the site that can
then turn around and present you with these kinds of fake or bogus warning
So, even though you should be avoiding what we might consider to be
“suspicious sites,” it can still kind-of, sort-of happen. That’s why the very
first thing, the most important thing – that the news program and that I would
try and get across to you – is simply that you must be aware.
You must be skeptical… and before (especially before) giving
anybody any kind of money or giving anybody any kind of remote access to your
machine – check it out. Use some other resource that’s not associated with
whomever is calling you to confirm whether or not they’re real.
My guess is (especially on the phone) as soon as you say, “You know, I’ll
get back to you. Leave me your number,” they’re either going to hang up on you
or they’re gonna get pissed. I’ve actually heard them get angry at people for
questioning their motives! As soon as that happens, you know it’s a complete
Be aware and be safe.