ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A West County man tells FOX 2 his computer was 'held hostage' by someone unknown.
There was no conversation; payment was arranged through money cards and a PayPal account. Now, the retired builder realizes scammers can lock you out of your own computer.
He doesn`t want scammers to hit him again, so he asks that we not use his real name. But George has to use his wife`s computer because his has a virus, left by the scammer.
George noticed the logo. It was the symbol for the federal agency ICE or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It clearly states the computer is "blocked." Then George read this line: "To unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of 300 USD."
There were even instructions on how to pay.
The use of government agency names seems to trick many consumers.
Consumers should know:
1) The government is not going to use the internet to tell you, that you broke the law.
2) Nor will the government instruct you to use a moneypak card.
George says authorities have traced the scam to a point.
Unfortunately local police are limited in what they can do to find the offender. If you see a pop up claiming your computer is blocked, take it to a qualified technician to regain control.
Call us if you have consumer issues. The toll free number is 800-782-2222. The lines are open from 11am till 1pm Monday through Thursday.