Do not trust websites promoting the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam

Also Known As: "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" pop-up
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

"FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam removal instructions

What is the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam?

"FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" is a scam, promoted on various deceptive websites. Said sites have been observed being promoted via azurewebsites.net; however, not exclusively. This scam claims that users' devices have been locked, due to content detected on them - being in violation of US federal law. Additionally, this illegal material is likely to be virulent, which can cause serious issues - hence, the users are pushed to contact fake Google support. It must be emphasized that all of the information provided by the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scheme is false. Furthermore, this scam is in no way associated with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) or Google LLC. Most users access deceptive webpages unintentionally, they get redirected to them by intrusive advertisements or by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), already installed onto their systems.

FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION scam

When a website running the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scheme is accessed, users are presented with a pop-up window. The text presented in it, shares similarities with tech support scams. The pop-up states that a security breach has been detected on users' devices. The system is supposedly infected with a virus, which is known for information theft. This alert is allegedly provided by Google and it is reporting an unexpected system error / infection. According to the alert, this error/virus has originated from files relating to child pornography that are stored on users' devices. The data at risk from this, is listed as: financial information (e.g. banking account and/or credit card details), email log-in credentials (e.g. usernames and passwords), social networking/media log-in credentials and chat logs, users' private and sensitive files, etc. The message urges users to call "Google Support". The helplines provided by these types of scams are often presented as free and that is rarely the case. Scammers typically use this contact to trick users into allowing remote access and control of their devices, revealing vulnerable information (similar to what the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scheme claims is at risk), paying various fees for "services rendered", and so forth. The text in the background of the webpage is presented as a warning, issued to users due to prohibited content being found within their systems. The device has been locked, as the material in it and/or accessed through it - is in violation of articles "161,148, 215 and 301". The violations are specified as possession of content containing child pornography, bestiality, child abuse and so on. To unlock the device, the scheme states that users must pay a fine within 24 hours. If that is not done within 48 hours - an arrest warrant will be issued. Additionally, as the nonexistent material involves child pornography - users risk being fined up to fifty thousand US dollars and/or sentenced for twenty years in prison. This part of the scam operates much in the same way as the aforementioned. Therefore, the goals are the same, even if they are presented differently. For example, instead of fees users are asked to pay fines; requests for personal information may be stated to be identity verification or similar; remote access being necessary not for technical support services but for alleviation of the allegations. To summarize, trusting the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam can lead to system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues and identity theft.

As mentioned in the introduction, PUAs can force-open deceptive/scam and various other questionable webpages. However, these apps can have other/additional abilities. They can run intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e. deliver undesirable and harmful ads). Other types can modify browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. Furthermore, most PUAs can track data. They monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engines histories) and collect personal information inferred from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To protect device integrity and user safety, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims users' devices are infected, contain illegal content and have been locked.
Disguise FBI and Google
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-800-974-4062
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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"Windows Alert & Warning", "System Activation KEY has expired", "A virus has been detected on your computer" and "Killer's IP Address" are some examples of similar scams. The Internet is full of various online schemes, which make likewise varied claims. Popular scam models include: warnings that the system is infected or at risk, alerts that an essential piece of software is outdated or missing, fake prize giveaways and likewise fraudulent offers/deals, and so on. Regardless of what deceptive sites offer, request or demand, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue for the designers.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are often promoted by scam websites. These applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other software. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. skipped steps and sections, etc.) - increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system. Once clicked on, intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to download/install PUAs, without user permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to research software before download/installation. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content. Due to this, these download channels are deemed to be untrustworthy. When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate, however they redirect to dubious webpages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling and others). In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, users must check their devices and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam's pop-up:

GOOGLE SUPPORT
 +1-800-974-4062

 

Security Breach Detected
Transfering Your Personal Data  Pictures
This VIRUS is well known for Identity and Credit card Theft

 

Google security alert!!
Please Contact Google Support +1-800-974-4062

 

System might be infected due to unexpected error - child Pornography Detected !

 

Security Breach!

 

Private and Financial Data is at RISK:
. Your credit card details and banking information
. Your e-mail passwords and other account passwords
. Your Facebook, Skype, AIM, ICQ and other chat logs
. Your private & family photos and other sensitive files
. Your webcam could be accessed remotely by stalkers

 

IMMEDIATELY CALL Google Support +1-800-974-4062  

 

MORE ABOUT THIS INFECTION:
Seeing these pop-up's means that you may have a virus installed on your DEVICE which puts the security of your personal data at a serious risk.
It's strongly advised that you call the number above and get your DEVICE inspected before you continue using your internet, especially for Shopping or Banking.

 

Call immediately for assistance.
Contact Google Support +1-800-974-4062.

Screenshot of "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" scam's background page:

FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION scam background

Text presented in this page:

FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
United States
PROHIBITED CONTENT

 

This device is locked due to the violation of the federal laws of the United State of America

 

* Article 161
* Article 148
* Article 215
* Article 301
*of the Criminal Code of USA
Your device was used to visit websites containing pornography

 

Following violations were detected

 

* Child pornography
* Zoophilia pornography
* Child abuse
* Bulk-spamming
To Unblock this phone the Fines only be paid within 24 hours after the infringement. As soon as 48 hours elapse ARREST WARANT will be issued on your name :

 

Child pornography laws in the United States specify that child pornography is illegal under federal law and in all states and is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment or fine of $50000

The appearance of "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION scam

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

PUAs uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on "fbi criminal investigation" pop-up or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION pop-up QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of "FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION" pop-up on your mobile device.
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