Have you ever received a pesky pop-up message that won’t go away? Sadly, these pop-ups are the first attempts of your typical tech fraud scam. These messages can range from a variety of topics, but the most popular pop-up relates to your operating system such as Windows and your Microsoft account.
These pop-ups start with a warning message stating your Windows PC is corrupt or missing files followed with instructions for you to contact support and will provide a phone number for you to call.
With every tech fraud scam, there is a phone number and also a price. It’s important to know how to recognize a scam and how to avoid being a victim.
First, lets start with some basics:
Never call the toll-free phone number provided.
Find an IT company or a computer technician you can trust. If you receive a pop-up, take a picture of it and send it to your technician BEFORE you act.
NEVER click on the popup or on anything associated with the pop-up.
Shut down your computer. Close any open web browsers or programs from the task bar and power off your device. Wait for computer to completely shut down and then restart the device.
Call an authorized technician or take your computer to a computer store. Pop-ups are typically on an auto schedule. If it popped up yesterday, but you haven’t seen it today- chances are you will see it tomorrow.
About the scam
If you fall for the scam and call the number listed, you will contact a very polite person who may go into detail about their company, what they offer and how they can help. Typically they charge between $200 and $350 each time they remote in and/or monthly. They pitch you a lengthy story about what possibly could be wrong with your device. Then they ask for your permission to remote into your device and instruct you on how.
Once they are in, they may show you all sorts of things that appear wrong. To someone who is not tech-savvy and doesn’t understand how computers operate, (i.e. why certain messages are in certain areas) this may appear to be problematic.
The scammer will then delete some things, maybe reset some things to look like he is working hard for your money all while uploading more pop-up messages in the background and never removing the first set of bugs that were originally installed by clicking on the pop-up and allowing him access to your device.
Your computer looks great. He leaves his number on your toolbar for you to call him if you have any more issues (I promise you, YOU WILL) and you go about your day. You continue to use your computer to pay bills online, check out your social media, read the news and more. And your scammer now has access to all of these as well.
A month later, that pesky pop-up shows up again. It may say the same thing, or it may say something different. Before you know it, you have paid several hundred dollars, if not thousands over a time period of several months and guess what-- YOU ARE STILL INFECTED!