Fake Virus Alert Scam – What to do?
Scam Alert! Recently we’ve seen many more customers coming in and giving us a call because suddenly while they’re browsing the internet, surfing the information super highway they’re faced with a scary alert, and usually a voice that starts talking saying that “You’re infected! Your PC has a virus and you need to call (Insert-random-800–number-here).” The quick answer is that this is a fake virus alert, and you should never call them!
What is it?
Fake virus alerts is an attempt to steal your money, your bank account info and so much more! The companies and even government, and criminal empires behind these types of scams are massive, and make tons of cash from unsuspecting people. It’s a constant cat-and-mouse game trying to catch them, too.
How Does It Work?
It works like this, The entity responsible for creating the fake virus alerts that drive people to calling the “bad guys” starts off as an advertisement. These persons set up fake companies, and advertising accounts on popular sites and platforms such as those which serve recipes, fishing gear, cookware- I think you get the idea, It can be anywhere.
Once they have an established advertising account the bad guys then use advertisements which have malicious code in them, this code changes often and goes undetected immediately. Visitors who go to the site with an ad which has this code will get the fake virus alert, and it’ll start showing many popups, and many times the fake virus alerts will even use audio to alert you to a problem.
If you call into the number you’ll be greeted by someone who claims to be a technician, they’ll get you to allow them onto your PC so they can run some virus scans. Most of the time they’ll open the Event Viewer, this is an item of Windows which logs system-level things such as startup info, application bug logs, etc. Most of this is harmless however to an untrained person the sheer number of alerts will scare them into thinking they’ve been compromised.
At this point they’ll offer a cleanup and removal service either with, or without an ongoing monthly fee. The initial cost can be upwards of $300. Many times if the customer refuses removal services the technician from the fake av alert hotline will either lock down the computer so that only they can access it using a built in windows security feature called syskey, Or they’ll even go as far as to demand payment to leave the computer.
What Can I Do?
This depends on how far the bad guys have got, and your level of computer repair ability. If you’re at the alert, and you haven’t called in then most of the time you can just turn the computer off, and back on- This will cause it to go away. If you do this, and it continues then you should load the PC in safemode, and perform the proper scans and cleanups.
We offer fast PC and Apple Repair Services. If you’re not comfortable cleaning up your computer, or just want to make sure it’s right and that it’s protected against this then give us a call!