A ransomware attempt that masquerades as a police notification has stolen from tech users.

Who Is It Targeting: Tech users, mostly mobile devices

What Is It:  A phony ransomware attempt

What Are They After: In this pretty sleazy scam, you’re going about your business online when a message pops up, looking for all the world like it was sent by law enforcement. It says you’ve been caught trying to look at pornography (which isn’t typically a crime) and that your computer or device has been locked. In order to unlock it, you must click the button and pay the fine.

This attack actually spread through a small flaw in some web browsers, one that companies have now developed a “patch” for. Unfortunately, clicking the box on the warning message actually installs a virus on your computer, as well as steals from you once you pay the fake fine.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Any time a warning message pops up that your computer has been infected or you’ve broken the law, turn off your computer immediately.
  • Unplug the computer from the wall, and disconnect from the modem as well.
  • Never, ever click the box, not even if it has a small X that appears to close it. Doing so can install the malicious software.
  • Keep your web browser, operating system, and device software up-to-date to install these “patch” fixes.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from BankInfoSecurity.com.