While you can try to avoid scammers from hijacking your computer by keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and by not clicking on anything suspicious, the risk will linger as long as scammers exist.

After a scammer has gained access to your computer and locked it down using Ransomware, typically you will see a message on the screen demanding that you send money in order to have your computer and files back. If you decide to pay the ransom, you’re obviously not going to send a scammer a check or money via PayPal, as that is traceable. Instead, scammers are using an international cyber currency, called Bitcoin, to request ransom payment.

Bitcoin is unique in that it does not utilize a bank to process transactions nor does it rely on a government to issue the currency. It’s most similar to cash in that any exchange of Bitcoins is irreversible. Bitcoins are purchased through an exchange using a credit card or your checking account and sent electronically for minimal exchange fees. To collect Bitcoins, you can have funds collect in your wallet, sent back to your linked accounts, or you can opt for a Bitcoin debit card.

Overall, if you decide to give Bitcoin a try, its website provides a great tips and resources to keep you safe.