WASHINGTON — Online scammers have employed a new hoax to extort money from web users in the name of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Cyber Crimes Center. The latest version of this scam – which has imitated the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center in the past – lures victims to a drive-by download website, at which time ransomware is installed on the user's computer. Once installed, the computer freezes and the user is warned that their computer has been blocked due to federal criminal violations. The user is then told they must pay the ICE Cyber Crimes Center $400 within 48 hours to have their computer unlocked.
This is a hoax – not a legitimate communication from ICE. If you have received this message, do not follow the payment instructions.
Instead, it is suggested that you:
- Report it to the HSI Tip Line at 866-347-2423.
- Keep operating systems and legitimate antivirus and antispyware software updated.
- Contact a reputable computer expert to assist with removing the malware.