Advanced Internet Scam Hitting the Basin - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Advanced Internet Scam Hitting the Basin

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - An Internet scam is making the rounds in the Basin. Computer experts said it's so advanced, they're calling it one of the worst viruses out there.

The FBI sent out an alert just about a year ago but it's taken off since then.

It can happen in a second, but one click and it's done.

"It takes over your entire computer to where you cannot access anything," computer expert and business owner, Shea Sitz, said. "You can't press start, you can't press control-alt-delete. Anything."

Sitz is talking about an Internet virus that's posing as government agencies and using fear to scam people out of cash.

Here's what usually happens: The bug infects a seemingly safe website. Once a person clicks on the infected page, a screen with the FBI, CIA or Homeland Security logo pops up and locks your computer. The screen looks like a legitimate page from these government agencies.

"It will tell you, you illegally downloaded software or music or you have child pornography on your computer," Sitz said. "Something along those lines."

The site said users must pay $300 with a Green Dot MoneyPak card to unlock their computer. If they don't, the page threatens an arrest and jail time.

Sitz said paying up actually makes the virus worse.

"It will start deleting files, it will start corrupting files already on your computer," he said.

There's no word on where the bug originated, but it's so advanced, it can even access your webcam and get around computer security systems.

But that's not all.

"It actually knows the programs that will stop it so it actually knows how to avoid those too," Sitz said. "They're having to keep renaming the programs that will kill the process so you can remove it."

Sitz owns the computer repair business, A Tech For All Seasons, and he's seen dozens of cases in Midland.

He said you can avoid becoming a victim by staying only on trusted web sites and scanning all files even it's from a trusted site.

But if it happens to you, don't fall for it.

"If you get it, shut off your computer immediately because otherwise it can further corrupt it," Sitz said.

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