Recently law enforcement nationwide has been responding to calls reporting victims having their computers “locked” by the FBI and/or local law enforcement. 

Victims often see an official looking screen bearing the FBI logo and official language that informs the victim that their computer has been locked because of some infraction on the internet.

The victim is informed that their computer can be unlocked (and of course all charges dropped) if they pay a fine immediately.

As with most scams, victims are instructed to pay using western union or other difficult to trace methods.

Law Enforcement does not have the capability or authority to remotely lock you out of your own computer.

If your computer gets locked and you see a screen directing you to pay money, IT IS A SCAM.

Many of these scams are the results of computer viruses/malware which your computer may have picked up at any point.  If your computer appears to be infected, the Bozeman Police Department recommends taking your computer system to a reputable computer repair facility and having them remove the malicious programs for you.

This scam is a variation of many others, all of which have common threads: a sense of urgency, and a need to send money in a way that is difficult to trace (i.e. Western Union).  The Bozeman Police Department has also received information that scams are also encouraging victims to make payments by purchasing payment cards (such as “Pay Pal” cards, or Visa cash cards, etc.) to make the payments.

If it sounds too good to be true, requires an immediate call to action, or requires you to make questionable cash transaction, the odds are good IT IS A SCAM!  Please contact Detective Dana McNeil at 582-2010 if you have any questions.

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