FBI Chicago warns of new computer scam targeting Illinois residents

If you have parents or grandparents that aren't tech-savvy, the FBI Chicago is asking you to give them a heads-up about a new scam targeting older Illinoisans.

The scam starts with a pop-up window and for some victims, has ended in them losing thousands of dollars.

"Imagine being older and retired, and losing $1 million of your savings," said FBI Special Agent Siobhan Johnson.

That's actually happened as a result of a new cyber-scam that starts with your computer freezing, followed by a pop-up on the screen claiming the computer has been hacked. The pop-up contains a phone number that is supposedly a well-known security software company.

However, if you dial it, it leads to scammers claiming to be from a bank or the Social Security Administration.


"None of these people work for any of these organizations," said Johnson. "They're all scammers. They're all well-versed in what their role is in the scam and they're just going to lead you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole."

Once down that hole, Johnson said the scammers are duping people into transferring their very real money into bogus accounts under the guise of "protecting" it.

"We're putting this alert out right now because we're seeing a number of people who otherwise have complete and total control over their lives, intelligent people, they're falling prey to this scam," Johnson said. "Call your mother, call your father, call your grandparents, just let them know: once the pop-up appears on your screen, that's where the problem is."

If you see the pop-up, disconnect your computer from the internet immediately. Don't just turn off your computer, don't just restart it — turn off the WiFi or internet connection and call someone who knows how to scan the computer for malware.