If it looks fishy, it probably is.
That’s a good mindset to have, particularly when referencing the increasing amount of scams hitting the Internet these days.
Now, there is a new influx of viruses finding their way through the digital world, one of which is working – and working well: the Reveton Virus, used in conjunction with Citadel malware.
“This virus comes from hijacked web pages or from emails saying they are from the Better Business Bureau, FedEx, or UPS,” said Tom Stutsman, chief executive officer of Quik Techs Computer Services in Oro Valley.
Generally, emails from the fraudulent UPS or FedEx will inform the victim that a package en route has been returned due to an addressing error. The fake Better Business Bureau emails appear to be a complaint, and are often targeted toward business owners.
Once clicked, the virus takes over the user’s computer.
“What these viruses do is hold your computer ransom with a screen that says it is from the FBI or CIA, and scares you into sending a MoneyPak of between $250 and $600,” said Stutsman. “It will say that you have 24 hours to do it, or you will be indicted.”
Sadly, many users buy into the scam out of fear.
When a victim attempts to send a MoneyPak for the requested dollar amount, they will find nothing further happens. That’s because at this point, the criminal has everything needed to accept the funds.
“This is usually when I get the phone call and inform the customer that this is a scam, and to come over so we can remove the virus,” said Stutsman. “So now the customer is not only out the money they sent, but also the money for the service call. These viruses have also collected credit card info.”
Stutsman says it is often people in the older age group that are being taken advantage of because they are not as familiar with fraudulent-looking emails as the younger generation.
Stutsman has some words of advice for potential victims.
“The FBI is not going to take over your machine,” he said. “If they want to indict you, they will show up at your door. Anytime anyone is requesting money on your computer, it is most likely a virus.”
The virus has come to the attention of Oro Valley police, who currently have been working to get the word out as well.
“When we saw this, we ended up sending out a notice to Rancho Vistoso, which is where the incident occurred, warning the community of this,” said Oro Valley Police Department spokesperson Lt. Kara Riley.
The department will continue its awareness efforts when it sends out a notice to the town’s Adopt-A-Business program, neighborhood watch organizations, and homeowner’s associations the beginning of next week.
Because the virus has reached the national level, the FBI is offering some tips to avoid becoming a victim.
-Do not pay any money or provide any personal information
-Contact a computer professional to remove Reveton and Citadel from your computer
-Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background. Certain types of malware have been known to capture personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers through embedded keystroke logging programs.
-File a complaint and look for updates about the Reveton virus on the IC3 website.
The IC3 (Internet Complaint Center) website is www.ic3.gov.
For more information on services offered by Quik Techs Computer Services in Oro Valley, visit www.quiktechs.com.