Albany, NY (WIBX) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is renewing warnings about an online threat that threatens computer users with jail time if they do not pay a fine.  As soon as the message is opened it unleashes a virus that locks the computer.

The FBI/MoneyPak virus appears on the screen, sometimes with a message indicating that users are being videotaped while reading it (possible for computers that have cameras attached).  If you do not pay a fine of approximately $200, the message reads, you will go to prison for up to three years.  To pay the fine the user is told to purchase a MoneyPak card and enter a pin number.

The FBI is warning that this is a scam designed simply to extort money.  The virus is classified as "drive-by" because it does not require users to download anything in order for it to infect a computer.  Simply visiting the website is enough for the virus to go to work locking the user out of his or her computer.

In a posting on the FBI's website Donna Gregory of IC3, the Internet Crime  Complaint Center, says they are receiving dozens of complaints every day and suggests having a computer professional immediately remove the Reveton and Citadel software from the affected computer.  She says in some cases personal identifying information is captured, and advises all computer users to never give out personally identifying information when requested to do so over the Internet.

She also suggests that those who believe that they are victims contact the FBI and IC3 and immediately file a complaint.  October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the FBI is taking the opportunity to remind everyone about the very serious nature of cyber threats and the steps the public can take to prevent being victims of Internet fraud and electronic scams.  Locally users can also call the FBI in Albany at: (518) 465.7551 or in Buffalo at: (716) 856.7800.