Two people face federal charges for hijacking computers, making threats and stealing millions of dollars. One victim from Oklahoma has already come forward and the FBI believes there are more.
Victims said they were working on their computer when a pop-up came up and they clicked on the link or made a phone call believing they were getting technical assistance. One victim was told he had been hijacked by Russian hackers.
"He cursed and said if I didn't act fast my money would all be gone by morning. I am 74 years old and was petrified," he said.
So, the victims thought they were getting help but instead gave the hijackers remote access to their computer and everything on it.
“They have all your previous addresses, they have access to all your accounts, they know what passwords you’ve been using, you’ve got secure documents that are on there,” said Kitt Letcher, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma.
The Better Business Bureau is working with the FBI to find more Oklahoma victims and warn others of what's happening. They say the hijackers will also hold the computer hostage until you pay them. And if you don't continue to pay, threats can get increasingly aggressive.
Some victims also reported watching their computer camera turn on, and saw themselves on screen as a voice came through the speakers threatening their life and family.
One woman said when she refused to continue paying she was “verbally attacked with vulgar comments, vulgar comments about my granddaughter (what they would do to my granddaughter and myself) vulgar phone calls, verbally attacking and threatening me. Would come to my home and make my life miserable.”
“It’s a very personal attack, it’s not just you’re going to lose some paper. I know who you are, I know what you look like, I know who your family is. And now I’m going to personally come after you,” said Letcher.
If you have been a victim of this scam:
To protect yourself from scammers attempting to access your computer: