Scammers take over computer and demand money

Try going a day without your computer or tablet. It isn't easy for most of us.

That's what scammers are counting on.

One viewer recently let me know how her computer had been taken over by someone. That someone was demanding more than $200 to release it.

It scared her and probably would scare most of us.

The computer screen says that the government has done this because you did something wrong. It mentions the FBI.

But Sharon Lewis and her husband did nothing wrong.

"The told us we would get to spend 2-12 years in prison for not sending the $250," Sharon says.

And the computer took a webcam picture of her husband and used it as part of the warning!

Sharon didn't pay the ransom. Instead, she let me know and I turned it over to Data Doctor's Ken Colburn.

"We started seeing this last summer, and to date, there have been 10-12 variations of this attack," he says.

Colburn says it's a virus you may see if you're trying to watch a video, and it says you need to click in order to upgrade your flash or video player.

"Whets happening is you're allowing this malicious software on your computer where they can lock you out."

And that's what happened here. Colburn says it's a scam you should never fall for.

"Do not pay the ransom. They're not going to give your computer back," Colburn says.

Instead, Data Doctors agreed to remove the virus, for free.

But as their techs took a deeper look at Sharon's computer, they found this wouldn't be so easy.

The found 36 different types of malware on the computer and it took more than a week to repair.

But eventually, it was all cleaned up and Sharon had her computer working better than ever.

So how do you avoid this? Colburn says if you get a message to upgrade a flash player, don't click.

Instead, go to the companies official site and check. Odds are, you don't need an upgrade.

The other problem with Sharon's computer is that she ignored how slow it had become.

Colburn says that's a good sign there are other viruses.

Let Data Doctors help with your computer knowledge.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.


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