Fake Antivirus Scams
What Are They?
Scams like this will often start out with a website popup informing the user that their computer has been infected. The more sophisticated scareware will even include credible details in the warning. The popup will then offer a security scan or virus cleaning software for purchase. These programs are often designed to come back with false positives to induce unwitting victims to spend further money for a fix. Of course, the computer has been safe all along, the user has just been scared into handing over their hard-earned cash. The other common application for this scam is to offer a phone number to call to have someone look at the user’s computer. The user is then asked for their credit card number and to install remote access software on the user’s computer. Not only has the user purchased something they don’t need, but they have also opened themselves up to identity theft and actual malware! The bad actors that create these scams spend money getting clone sites, websites that are built to look just like commonly visited sites, high in the search results of Google and other search engines. This makes their fake sites extra visible and brings in more clicks.
How can I protect myself?
Make sure that you have a trusted antivirus program running on your computer. Spectrum Technology Solutions partners with Sentinel One to offer 24/7 monitoring of all our protected devices. Keep that software up to date. Antivirus software offers frequent updates to stay current against the latest threats. If you experience one of these pop-ups telling you that you have been infected. Close it and check your known antivirus to see if there is any threat. Almost always you will find that there is no issue, just a website trying to spook you into spending money. Stay safe out there!