RCMP are warning the public about an internet scam that has resurfaced in the Lake Louise area.

The "scareware" scam involves a virus that is picked up while victims are surfing the internet. The victim's computer is then locked onto a screen telling the user that Canadian law has been violated.

Victims are told to pay a fine of $150 using an electronic payment system to unlock their computers.

Sgt. Jeff Campbell said a local resident came to the Lake Louise detachment early Saturday morning to report the problem. The victim had been downloading music when the malware locked the computer screen.

Campbell says file sharing web sites are often sources of malware.

The scammers use sophisticated graphics, including the RCMP logo,  to make the site look official.

Police say if you have been locked out of your computer, it's an indicator that your system may be infected with malware and you will need to take steps to address the problem. Sgt. Campbell says it may be possible to make the computer temporarily functional by restoring system settings.

Tips from the RCMP to protect yourself

  • Never click on a pop-up that claims your computer has a virus
  • Update your anti-virus software often and scan your computer for viruses regularly
  • Don't click on links or attachments in e-mails sent to you by someone you don't know or that seem suspicious
  • Turn on your browser's pop-up blocking feature
  • Never download anti-virus software from a pop-up or link sent in an e-mail

If you have received a scareware message, please contact your local police office online and the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report it.