Don't get fooled. Don't get attacked.And be very wary.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Detroit has sent out a warning regarding ransomware computer scam that appears to be from the FBI or another Federal agency.

In this variant of the ransomware scam,

"your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message – supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency – saying that because you violated sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine; or, you get a pop-up message telling you your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed to encrypt them." - FBI release

If you're not familiar with ransomware, it's a form of virus or "malware" that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files and in some cases even threatens the permanent destruction of your information unless a ransom – anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars – is paid.

In the past year, the FBI says, ransomware attacks have become more frequent and more sophisticated. On the most basic level, look at every email attachment you get (but don't click on it), even if it's from someone you know or are familiar with. Check any or all file attachments for an .exe file extension. They can sometimes be directly next to a common extension. For example, "filename.pdf.exe", might appear to be a .pdf file, but isn't.

The FBI says "to prevent the loss of essential files due to a ransomware infection, it is recommended that individuals and businesses always conduct regular system back-ups and store the backed-up data offline. A cloud-based backup is not considered offline. Ransomware will encrypt any drive that is visible to the computer, including back-ups."