Stop ransomware from hijacking your computer

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We've all received the emails; the emails that often times start with a desperate plea for help from someone in a country that you've never visited.

Or how about this one; an email that says you have an outstanding debt you need to pay.

Even though these phishing emails sound fishy, Ohioans are falling for them. The FBI's Cyber Division released an internet crime report from 2015 that shows Ohio is 10th on the list for victims of internet crime.

Ransomware seems to be the decades-old scam that's making a comeback. It starts with a bad weblink that downloads pop-ups on your computer.

Robin Wiley of Avon says she was almost a victim. "I was doing my work, when all of a sudden, this message pops up from Microsoft saying you have a scam alert," said Wiley, an Avon business owner.

The pop-ups look legit and they urge you to call a toll-free number for support. The computer is rendered frozen and the message says it won't work again until you call for help.

Caught in the web of lies, so far in 2015, 77 victims in Ohio shelled out more than $67,000 combined in ransomware scams, according to the FBI. That is an average of $871 paid by victims to criminals.

Jimmy Cheeko has owned Computer Crisis for nine years in Avon. Cheeko says more and more people have been hacked. "It's so easy. People click the wrong link and that's usually how it happens," says Cheeko.

Cheeko says it costs on average of $175 to repair a computer and completely clear the system.

There are red flags that you can spot right away. Cheeko said, "if they want money before they connect without them seeing anything yet."

He added, "As soon as they connect, they can take anything they want, even after you've given them access to your computer. They could access your computer when you don't know it and steal your banking information and records."

It's the hot hacking trend that is, ultimately, hijacking your wallet and your personal information.

If ransomware does pop-up, don't click anything. The fastest way to get rid of the pop-up is to hit Control, Alt, and Delete to end the task.

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