Computer virus extorts money with threat of child pornography accusations

SAN DIEGO - A viewer called 10News with a warning about a computer virus attempting to steal your money by making you think you have committed a crime.

"Basically, they were accusing me of watching child pornography," said Sandy Brue.

Brue found the virus – called the "DOJ Virus," "FBI Virus" or "Moneypack Virus" – after returning home from a trip.

"They actually took over my computer and prevented me from using it in any way, shape or form," said Brue. "I couldn't even shut it down."

With the virus, a screen takes over the user's computer and looks somewhat official, with federal insignia at the top. It claims the feds busted the user watching child pornography.

It even says the user is being recorded as they read the bad news, which is that they are going to jail unless they pay up.

"And then you are off the hook because it was the first offense," said Brue.

Experts say users can get the virus many different ways, including opening an email. Sometimes the virus does not show up for a few days, making it even harder to track down the origin.

Brue was not sure how she got the virus, but she knows how she did not get it.

"I guess if you were really watching porn then you would really be worried because you'd know they nabbed you," said Brue. "But I wasn't, so I knew it had to be a scam from the start."

It could cost more than $100 to have the virus removed by a professional.

Some versions of the scam can be very convincing. It can take over a user's web cam and in some instances, the scammers will call the user after they have been infected and pretend to be Microsoft calling to help.

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