FBI reminds computer users about scam that tries to take your money, take over your web camera

CLEVELAND - The latest Internet scam not only tries to scare you out of your money, but takes over you built in webcam.

The fake message with the FBI seal locks the user's computer screen and claims the user illegally downloaded something.

Then what amounts to a ransom demands several hundred dollars to unlock your computer and claims to help keep you from being charged with a crime.

"It will hold the computer basically hostage," said Vicki Anderson, Special Agent with the Cleveland FBI.

Most recently, a Mayfield Heights mom reported to police and the FBI that the scam took a frightening twist when the computer virus took over her web cam and took her picture placing her photo on the fake web page.

"It can also take over the cybercam that's connected to that computer and will snap a picture of the individual that's using that computer," Anderson said.

If you get a message from the so-called FBI cybercrime department, your computer was probably infected with a ransomware virus likely from clicking on an unfamiliar e-mail or sketchy website.

Do not enter any credit card information.

"Some people have fallen for paying that fee and others have paid that fee and their computer unlocks, but the virus isn't gone. So don't pay that fee and take the computer to someone reputable that can clean it for you," Anderson explained.

But shop around for a reasonable price. This scam is global and the FBI is investigating in the United States.

Mayfield Heights police said to play it safe and place tape over your built in webcam when you're not using it.

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