(CBS) — Criminals can take your computer and all the information it contains hostage. The FBI says it’s one of the biggest and newest crimes on the internet. The 2 Investigators reveal it’s almost impossible to stop these modern-day cyber-pirates.
Jessica Hale-Przewoznik’s normal day of browsing Facebook recently turned bad in a hurry.
“A white large notice came on there explaining again that this computer was under attack,” said Hale-Przewoznik.
The message included a number of a software company to call for help. Hale-Przewoznik immediately called the number hoping they would explain what had happened to her computer.
“He said that it had been hijacked and that this was a very common problem and that they fix it every day,” Hale-Przewoznik said.
But, that same software company was likely responsible for planting Ransomware on the computer in the first place and the fix would cost $310.
When Veronica Przewoznik, Jessica’s spouse, came home and saw the computer she was immediately suspicious.
“I realized that we had been scammed in some way shape or form,” said Veronica Przewoznik.
“They basically have locked our computer up,” Veronica Przewoznik continued. “Unless we buy their software.”
“It’s horrible I mean I’m only one person, how many other people are they doing this to,” Przewoznik adds.
Federal authorities say hundreds of computers are infected with Ransomware every day costing victims millions of dollars.
In 2015 the Midlothian Police Department paid a $500 ransom to get back control of their computers and a school district in South Carolina and a hospital in Hollywood, California have both been recent victims of Ransomware.
“It’s a huge problem and it’s very difficult to track down, it’s insidious,” said FBI Supervisor Special Agent, Eric Shiffman.
A problem that leaves those infected by Ransomware with few options.
“While the FBI doesn’t recommend that you pay, we do understand if you have to, I mean there’s certain vital files that you may need access to,” said Shiffman.
When the Przewoznik’s called the alleged software company back, the 2 Investigators were ready with a question.
The 2 Investigators asked the man on the other end of the call if he was part of a scam.
“Umm, not a part of a scam okay, and I believe I have explained all the thing to Miss Jessica and as well as Miss Veronica,” the man from the software company said.
But, when the 2-Investigators tried to press the issue, the man from the software company ended the call.
Thanks to help from Dell, Jessica and Ronni Przewoznik’s computer is working again, but they lost all the data they had stored on the machine. The FBI recommends you frequently back up all your data to a device separate from your computer, like a hard drive. They also say you should never open an unfamiliar email or click on ads. Anti-ransomware software can also be helpful as long as you keep it updated.