You receive a telephone call from an agent who works for “Microsoft” and they are calling to help you with your “infected computer”. A pop up message appears on your computer alerting you to call an agent who will help you remove malicious software from your infected computer. Welcome to: Antivirus telemarketing.
These type of scams are typical, very rehearsed and appear very much legitimate. The caller typically sounds like they are there to help. The popups look official. The average computer user proceeds to go along with the scheme. “I’m sure its something my daughter did on the computer.” “Oh we have had viruses before, so I’m not surprised this has happened again.” Responses like these are EXACTLY what the fake agent is looking for. 15-20 minutes later, you’re out hundreds of dollars and many times your PC is still infected or left accessible to further intrusion.
How did this happen?
The most common way people end up with advanced malware on their PC is through their own doing. They typically download a “free” program, driver, applications or game somewhere which had malware or adware attached to it. They tried installing a false “flash” or java” update. Installing one, installs all. And they progressively get worse over time. All the signs are there: pop ups, unfamiliar programs, home page changes, strange tool bars, computer performance slowed etc. Unfortunately most computer users treat their computer like their car, they only call for service when it absolutely no longer runs.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Use common sense when on the internet. Nothing is free and if its too good to be true, it always is. Microsoft, Google, Apple and other large billion dollar companies DO NOT make cold calls to repair your PC. In all honesty you cannot get some of those companies on the phone when you actually need their help, why would would they call now? Ask yourself “why is a multi-billion company calling me about antivirus?” They are not.
- Learn keyboard shortcuts. When a pop up appears use (alt+f4) to attempt to close it without actually clicking it. Or use (ctrl+alt+delete) to bring up your task manager and end the task itself. If all else fails, reboot your computer. DO NOT click the popup. Even clicking the (X) to close it, most times will still activate the virus or malware.
- Use programs like CCLEANER, MALWAREBYTES and ADWCLEANER to scan your computer for issues at the first sign of infection. Also routine maintenance is required for a healthy, optimal performing computer. Just like your car.
- Monitor the users of your home computer. In some cases getting children an old PC or tablet to use is best. It keeps your personal data from being exposed to ransomware. Also tablets cannot get the same virus a PC can. Do your heavy surfing on the phone and tablet.
Contact us RIGHT away if you have agents calling you or suspect your computer may be infected. We will help you perform a 100% cleaning of your Mac or Windows computer. (yes MAC computers get adware/malware as well). The longer you wait to fix an infection, the more time you give the bad guys to steal your money, data and time.