Where did you receive this message about contacting Apple support? Was this on the iPod's display? What it a sad face icon as seen in this article?
With the iPod still connected, have you tried a hard reset? To do this, press and hold both the Select (Center) and Menu buttons together long enough for the Apple logo to appear.
Are you plugging the iPod into a high powered USB 2.0 port and not a USB hub?
My ipod would be working fine, then skip several songs in a row (either in shuffle mode or when playing an album). Then it would freeze and show the message. I want to say it's a folder icon, but it hasn't done this in a couple of weeks. I have not tried a reset with the ipod plugged in. It is plugged in my USB port on the side of my laptop. When I plug it in, Windows makes a noise indicating that something has been plugged up, but I cannot locate it.