(KMOV.com) -- A Pike County family received an alarming message while browsing the Internet, accusing them of accessing child pornography and demanding they pay a fine to avoid prosecution.
News 4's Mike Colombo traced the pop-up message back to online scam artists.
Paulette Brown said she was shocked when the warning appeared on her computer screen, but said she was also suspicious. The message featured a Department of Justice logo, and said the computer had been blocked for accessing child porn and other illegal content. To unlock the computer, Brown was instructed to pay a fine using a prepaid money card.
"I knew it was a scam," Brown said. "I said, 'Malik, they're not going to send you an email or call you up to tell you what they're going to do. They're going to come pick you up and your computer.'"
The Department of Justice confirms the message is a malware virus, and is in no way associated with their department, or with the FBI.
Many computer users across the country have fallen prey to this scam. Thankfully, Brown was not one of them.
The virus will continue to operate on your computer, and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud. The government advises people to keep operating systems and antivirus software updated to filter out this message.
Anyone who has been affected by this message should contact a reputable computer expert to assist in removing the virus, and report the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.