Beware of Fake Pop-up Tech Support Scams

Have you ever been contacted by “representatives from Microsoft”? Fake tech support scam issue is becoming more prevalent these days. Victims of technical support scams are tricked into handing over their personal data and financial information by interacting with Internet scammers who pretend to be employees from Microsoft or computer security technicians. Even though such scam has been affecting millions of web users, it is surprising to find that there are a lot of people don’t even have heard of it. Please stay vigilant when you receive a notice that claims your device has been infected with malware/virus and ask you to make a call.

 

thumb-Help-Icon-Question-Mark-0-15271 How can you know if the message is legit or not?

How to Remove Tech Support Scam pop-up?

                      What can you do if you fall for a PC support scam?

Suspicious tech support pop-ups would appear on your computer if the system is infected by potentially unwanted programs or viruses.


SUGGESTED SOLUTION:

Click the button to scan your PC for unknown malware & get rid of fake warnings.

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Tech Support Scams Are Evolving and Rising

Tech support scams have been around for a long time, but tech support scammers have continuously evolved their malicious tactics to bleed as much money as possible from unsuspecting computer users, thus there are always millions of people fall for online scams and lose money every year. Even smart and experienced web users could get scammed out of a decent amount of money. According to the results from a research published by Microsoft in October last year, there are 2 out of 3 web users have experienced a tech support scam.

fake-suspicious-activity-found-alert

Commonly victims of tech support schemes receive security warning pop-up from nowhere on their web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet explorer and Safari) and they are told that their computers are in the danger of viruses/Trojan/malware. The scam can also be executed while a user is browsing a webpage and unintentionally clicks on an unsafe link that generates the pop-up warning. Usually such pop-up messages are provided with phone numbers for users to get remote tech support from Microsoft or other legitimate corporation.

The fraudsters make the fake warning messages look like authentic system warning to get users being concerned about their computers security and panic them into calling criminals with no time for doubt. The guy or the group on the other side of the phone claims to be “tech support personnel” who offers help to you for repairing your PC trying to gain your trust. Most victims fooled by tech-support scams use Windows Operating System, but rogue cyber criminals set traps for Mac users as well.

scam example

You might be warned that there is malevolent virus detected on your device, and it needs to be deleted as soon as possible. Scammers may also tell you that there are hacking activities found on your system and they are able to provide assistance to you to get rid of the cyber threats. They will try their best to build trust with any potential victims by convincing users to follow their instructions in order to keep their computer away from critical threats.

Tech support scams evolve continuously in order to look more realistic and avoid detection by security vendors. Cheaters can no longer be satisfied with simple cold calling, fake alerts, and screen lockers, potential victims now face a new threat born from ransomware – VindowsLocker, which is deployed in a tech support scam in which cyber criminals impersonate Microsoft technicians.

Once infected, the victim’s computer files are encrypted using AES algorithm. A ransom note is then displayed on the computer screen, instructing victims to call the fake Microsoft technician to retrieve their files for US$349.99.

Except for a notification showing up with a pop-up window or a new tab, the bogus tech support can also be achieved in different forms. The following are some other types of tech support call scams:

“Blue Screen of Death” Error Message

The blue screen of death (BSOD) error could be a serious problem that is commonly known by global Windows users. When the BSOD error occurs, the system will crash and the screen will freeze. Users have no option but only to reboot the compute. A large quantity of users have been plagued by this problem before so they will not think much about that and just follow what the prompt says when they see fake blue screen of death warning.

(Original Microsoft Blue Screen Error Message on Windows 8)

Real BsoD Windows 8

 

(Fake Microsoft Blue Screen Error Message with Support Number on Windows 8)

FakeBsoD

 

(Original Microsoft Blue Screen Error Message on Windows 7)

Real BsoD Windows 7

 

(Fake Microsoft Blue Screen Error Message with Support Number/Website on Windows 7)

FakeBsoD Windows 7

The fake blue screen of death page looks pretty close to the real one, but there’s still some differences. It displays with a phone number to call technical support for getting assistance. However, the real security alert from Microsoft would NEVER include a tech support number to call.

Scammers will often use one or more of the following methods to requests for gaining remote access:

  • Exaggerate facts and overemphasize specific points
  • Hide the truth or try to show you only one side of the story
  • Claim they’re trying to help you, while repeatedly directing you to a certain action
  • Purposefully raise their voice or use strong body language to show they’re upset
  • Threaten you with grave consequences if you don’t comply
  • Give you an extremely limited time to act

Every computer users should be vigilant and skeptical of any person who seeks remote access to their device. During a remote access session, fraudsters can access personal and financial information, alter device settings and leave behind unwanted or even malicious software.

What You Should Do If You See Tech Support Scam Pop-ups

The fake alarming pop-ups appear on the screen are often caused by the malware/Trojan/virus that hide in your system without being noticed. Many users may not know that fake warnings can be distributed during installation of some freeware. For example, a malicious browser extension is usually added when you install other free software. When you are browsing and landing on insecure websites, a simple click on advertisements or suspicious links can also serve for the distribution of tech support scams.

To remove the Tech Support Scam Virus or annoying pop-ups from your PC, please follow the step-by-step removal instructions given below.

If you are talking with the scammer over the phone, you should just simply hang up and do not give out your personal details.

Once you already gave the scammers access to your computer, disconnect your machine from network immediately to kick the crook out from your system.

Next, you should clean the infected computer by removing the malware from the system.

For Users of Windows 7:

1. Click on the Start icon and then select Control Panel.

control-panel-7

2. Click on Uninstall a program when you view Control Panel items by Category.

Windows 7 choose uninstall a program

3. In Programs and Features, locate the recently-installed suspicious programs from the list and click on Uninstall.

Uninstall suspicious programs

4. Restart your PC.

5. Reset your browser:

Firefox:

Open Firefox browser.

Click the Menu button at the top right to access Help menu.

Firefox help

From the there, choose Troubleshooting Information.

Firefox help-troubleshooting information

Click the Refresh Firefox button in the upper-right corner of the Troubleshooting Information page.

Refresh firefox

To continue, click Refresh Firefox in the confirmation window that opens.

Refresh firefox 2

Firefox will close to refresh itself. When finished, a window will list your imported information.

Click Finish and Firefox will open.

 

Internet Explorer:

Open IE browser.

Click on the Tools button and then select Internet options.

IE- Internet Options

In the Advanced tab select Reset.

Reset IE

Close all other applications before starting resetting the browser or your will receive a message like this:

Reset IE 2

 

In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, select Reset.

Restart your browser to apply changes.

 

Chrome:

Open Chrome browser. At the top right, click More Settings Chrome morebutton.

Select Settings from the list.

Chrome settings

At the bottom of the page, click Show advanced settings.

Chrome show advanced settings

Under the section “Reset settings“, click Reset settings button.

Chrome reset settings

In the box that appears, click Reset. ​

Chrome reset

Restart the browser at the end.

6. Scan your computer with reliable anti-malware program

Download the free scanner SpyHunter on your PC.

download-spyhunter-now
SpyHunter is a powerful anti-malware program which can help prevent and remove most of newly-released malware and virus. It has been tested clean of viruses and malware so is 100% safe to use. It won’t take up too much space on your disk so you don’t need to worry about installing extra security program would slow down your computer speed.

Install it on your computer by following the prompts.

There is no any additional program contained within the installer, but you are still suggested to read the introduction about this software and learn more about it.

Check the End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy carefully to make sure they are within acceptable limits. And then click on Install button to start the installation setup.

SpyHunter installation step 3

Click on Finish and close the installer. The whole process will be complete in about 1 minute.

SpyHunter installation step 5

Once installed, SpyHunter will automatically start and initiate a quick scan on your PC.

When the scan is complete, you will be presented with a long list showing you the computer threats that it has detected.

SpyHunter detects Conduit Search

To remove these threats, click on the Fix Threats.

spyhunter fix threats

Note: The free edition of SpyHunter provides free scan for PC infection. The other benefits including fixes to specific spyware problems, personal technical support, removal of rootkits and malware are available to registered users.

Mac users:

  1. Click GoApplications.
  2. Find all questionable programs, right-click on them and move them to Trash.

Once done, reset Safari’s settings. For this purpose, do the following:

  1. Launch Safari, and then find and click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Then go to Preferences.
  2. Go to Extensions tab and look for suspicious entries. Uninstall each of them.
  3. Then go to General tab and check what URL is entered into Homepage box. If you see a suspicious link, remove it and replace it with a website that you want to set as a homepage. Remember that you must type in http:// before entering a preferred URL.
  4. Reset Safari. Click Safari, and click on Reset Safari… option.
  5. When Reset Safari pop-up appears, check all checkboxes and click Reset.

Tips for Staying Safe

• Don’t give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
• Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
• If you need tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their website, software package or on your receipt.
• Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
• If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
•   Never give your password over the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.

If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cyber criminal to access your computer, don’t panic. Instead:

• Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything it identifies as a problem.
• Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too.
• If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn’t make, and ask to reverse those, too.

You should always keep your computer and antivirus software updated. It is suggested that you to buy a well-reputed antivirus software for your computer to help you decrease the risk of falling into tech support scam and getting potentially unwanted software.

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