Browser Pop-Up Scams – Spring 2016 Advisory

 

This year I have received frequent calls for computer help due to a clever new breed of fraud.  These are typical commonly referred to as the “Microsoft tech support scam”

I will paraphrase below the types of problems people are reporting:

“I am getting calls from somebody claiming to be from Microsoft / Windows service center.  They tell me my computer has been hacked and they want my details to ‘fix the issues’.”

“My Windows screen is frozen with a message that my computer has been infected. There is a message with a phone number I must call or all my data will be deleted.”

“Today a pop-up appeared on my PC with a voice warning my computer is compromised, to contact a tech support number,  and not to turn my machine off under any circumstances.”

“A warning comes on my computer every time I start up that won’t let me do anything. When I call the phone number on the screen, they want to charge me to fix my Windows.”

If you run into a problem like this yourself, it is very possibly fraudulent. Most such cases seem to involve attempts to get unsuspecting computer users to give somebody on the phone remote access to their computer, and / or providing them bank or credit card information as payment for “solutions” to computer problems that really don’t exist.

Even better, be cautious about clicking on web links or email links if you’re not sure what they are. Also, be aware that Microsoft will not contact you in any of the ways indicated in these examples.

Here is a sample link to one of Microsoft’s published responses to one such complaints. See http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/mse-protect_scanning/phone-call-scams-claiming-to-be-microsoft/ – This article is posted on Microsoft’s own website. I'll add some other helpful links below.

Feel free to share this information with your family, friends or neighbors. There seems to be an epidemic of scams following the patterns above.

Please feel free to call if you run into this kind of problem yourself.  Often it can be resolved more quickly and simply than it appears.

 

Arthur K. Burditt III

(352) 875-7878

akburditt@gmail.com