It happens without warning. The official FBI emblem pops up on your computer screen along with an Interpol emblem and the message that your computer is locked.
John Teeter got the sophisticated-looking message last week.
He was essentially told that his computer was being held ransom until he pays.
John and countless others who have gotten the FBI ransom virus are told they've violated federal copyright crimes and must pay a $300 fine within 72 hours.
John says, "For the first five or six seconds you don't know and then you read the text...the more you read through it...you realize that it's a scam."
John didn't fall for the scam, but now his laptop is infected and he'll have to pay to have the virus removed, even though he had a topnotch security firewall.
"These individuals whoever they are, are scamming millions of dollars from unsuspecting people."
I talked to the FBI and other experts. I learned the virus has been around since late last year and originates in Russia.
Local computer repair shops tell me they get one to two calls everyday about the virus. They tell me the average cost to fix it is anywhere from $80 to $200.
The best advice: make sure your computer software and Internet browser are updated. Also, run regular virus scans.
There is no guarantee your computer won't be infected, but it will help.
There are a couple of free anti-virus programs out there like AVG and AVAST.