The FBI Salt Lake City Division has received numerous complaints from concerned Montana residents who have been threatened with fines of up to $200. In the past two weeks, several complainants have called FBI offices in Montana to report someone claiming to be an FBI employee has contacted them by phone or e-mail. Several complainants say they were told their computers had been locked due to illegal online activity and a one-time payment of $200.00 was required to unlock their computers. One complainant reported he was threatened with a higher fine if he did not comply. Some individuals report sending money. “Unfortunately, once a person wires or sends money, they have potentially just become a victim of a scam,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. “I want Montana residents to realize this is a ruse that con artists are using to steal money from unsuspecting people.”
Montana residents who have been victimized by Internet-based scams are encouraged to file complaints at IC3.gov (http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx). The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the FBI and the National White-Collar Crime Center. It is funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.