SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) — Cybersecurity is a hot topic these days, and many tech experts say thousands of new viruses are popping up every day.
Local computer stores say that some of the most common threats are pop-ups that claim to protect you from attack.
Pop-ups are common for computer users while surfing the internet or checking emails, but cybersecurity experts claim that some of these pop-ups are scams that try to trick you into installing fake malware .
“The premise behind this is that they’re trying to cheat you out of your money by solving a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Springfield PC Pros owner Timothy Gleaves.
It’s basically a virus versus a fake virus. Gleaves calls it the “fake tech support scam”.
“He’ll say, ‘Caution, danger, danger,'” he described. “He may even have a voice that speaks to you. He can play music. He can do whatever he can to scare you as possible. But it will ‘Danger, Danger, Danger’ your computer [and say it] has errors and problems and [tell you to] call Microsoft’s helpline at 1-800 blah-blah-blah-blah.
Gleaves said you should never call this number.
“They’ll be like, ‘Well, we can fix all of that for you for $399 or $500 or $1,000 or whatever they want to charge you. “”
He says there is a major telltale sign that it is a scam.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that tech support companies like Microsoft will never contact you to tell you about a problem with your computer,” Gleaves said.
If you are affected by one of these scams, he said there is a quick and easy way to prevent and stop it.
“If you can’t get out of it, the best thing to do would be to just press and hold the power button on your computer for 10 seconds and forcefully shut it down,” Gleaves said. “So turn it back on. Most of the time that’s all it takes to reset everything.
He takes care of all kinds of repairs in his store and occasionally helps customers to clean up their computers after this kind of scam.
“Once crooks gain access to your computer, there’s no telling what they can do,” he said. “They can install software in the background, they can steal your files, they can even install ransomware and trigger it later.”
If this ever happens to you, here are his top tips for the future:
“Just be aware of where you’re going to go,” he said. “Don’t go back to the same website, because chances are you’ll end up in the same boat.”
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