This week’s blog piggy back’s on Bridget Small’s recent post on the FTC’s most recent consumer protection blog. The Consumer Education Specialist shares the out of balance fact that she will drive for a week with her car’s Check Engine light blinking, but if a security warning shows up on her computer, she acts immediately. The key in both cases is to act prudently.
Scammers have been taking advantage of people like her, who care about computer security. They ran operations in the US and overseas that used pop-up messages and phone calls to convince people their computers needed fixing. The callers pitched unnecessary — and sometimes harmful — tech support services that cost people time and money. In response, the FTC launched a national and international effort to stop these scams and get money back to the victims.
The fraudsters in these cases sent ominous pop-up messages that looked like security warnings about things like viruses or malware. The messages urged people to call a toll-free number. The telemarketers who answered falsely claimed they were connected to well-known companies like Microsoft, Apple or Norton. The telemarketers tried to convince people there were serious problems with their computers, and sometimes got remote access to the computers to run fake “diagnostic tests.” They persuaded people that ordinary things on their computers were real problems. Then, they tried to get people to pay for software or services they didn’t need to “fix” problems that didn’t exist.
If you get a pop-up, call, spam email or any other urgent message about a virus on your computer stop. Don’t download anything, don’t call the number on the pop-up and don’t give anyone control of your computer. If you think you downloaded malware or gave a cybercriminal access to your computer, update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything the software says is a problem. And be sure to report tech support pop-ups and calls to the FTC.
For more on cyber safety and identity theft practice visit www.hvshred.com