Friday, September 20, 2013

My Experience with the FBI Green Dot Moneypak Virus

So, I haven’t posted a blog in a while… a long while.  I haven’t posted anything about my new book, and I haven’t reviewed Catherine MacKenzie’s book like I said I would, either (my apologies to her).  That leads me to my first post since early August…

The FBI Moneypak virus that infected my computer several weeks ago would be hilarious if it was not so annoying/scary.  It put my independent writing career on hold as it taunted my family from our laptop.  The image:  Large FBI letters, a message that we had been CAUGHT in illegal activities, and a webcam photo of my girlfriend, staring at the computer in confusion.

We were accused of viewing and/or downloading child pornography, bestiality, and/or instances of rape.  The virus used our own laptop’s webcam to capture my girlfriend’s image as “proof” that she was indeed the one identified as committing these crimes.  Of course, I knew this was a scam, because my girlfriend had been browsing artist trading cards while me and our little girl were watching Curious George on Netflix.  We were supposed to believe that the picture was taken while the crime was being committed, but my girlfriend’s sleep shirt (which she was still wearing) and ruffled hair (from just waking up) made it clear that the “FBI” had caught her lazily looking for quotes to paste onto artwork.

Not only was the “evidence” far from convincing, but the “FBI” seemed to be willing to clear the accused of all charges for a $300 fee, paid to a Green Dot Moneypak card that can be purchased at Wal-Mart or local convenient stores.  Wow!  No prison!  The FBI was either being considerably generous or we were targets of a huge SCAM.

What’s funny about living during a time when the internet is available on a plethora of devices, is that sometimes people forget about their options.  Usually, when I need to search for answers, I use the computer, but my computer had malware.  It wasn’t until the next day when it dawned on me that I could start my Nintendo Wii, go to Youtube, and search for a way to get the malware scam off the computer.  It was the complete opposite of trying to flip on a light after the electricity goes out.  Instead, I had power when I thought I had none.

I found the answers to my problem on Youtube, and I’m including a link to the video for anyone who might need instruction on how to remove the virus.  You will need a second computer that isn’t infected, an empty flash drive, and possibly a blank CD.  We used my girlfriend’s parents’ computer to go online and download the program to get rid of the virus (put on flash drive), and the program to override the virus before it gets a chance to disable the infected computer (put on CD).  It might have been a time-consuming process, but it was easy to accomplish once my girlfriend had access to her parent’s computer.  We’re not sure what gave our computer the virus, but the guy in the Youtube video claimed to have acquired the virus (after searching for a lot of questionable files in order to make the video) from something as simple as a searching for Danica Patrick.

Sadly, I have heard plenty of stories in which people were scammed into losing money because of this virus.  Sending money won’t get rid of the malware.  The FBI isn’t really locking your computer.  If you get a message that asks you to send money to pay for a crime, don’t bite.  Chances are, you’re being scammed.

Here’s the Youtube video that helped me get rid of the FBIMoneypak Virus

To download my horror story anthology, Flashlight Stories (get the first two stories completely free with sample).  Still only 99 cents for a limited time:
From Smashwords
From Amazon

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