Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is warning consumers of Ransomware scams that can encrypt or lock files on a computer.

Ransomware viruses lock files on personal computers and also files on shared networks, USB drives, and external hard drives. Once downloaded, the criminals behind these scams demand a "ransom" be paid or the computer’s files will remain encrypted and be lost to the victim.

Victims are told that if they pay, their files will be unlocked but some victims reported losing their files even after they paid the ransom.

Schuette offers the following tips for consumers to protect themselves against Ransomware: Regularly backup your computer’s files in a location not connected to the internet; Don't click on any attachments from a source you do not recognize; Regularly check your anti-virus and operating system software to make sure you have the latest patches and updates.