For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.
John's friend got bit by the popup that said she had a virus and then when she called "Microsoft support" they wanted $300 to fix it. Leo says it's a phishing scam. And once you give someone access to your computer, not only will they not fix anything, but they make the infection even worse by installing other malware. The only way forward now is to backup the data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall Windows.
Bill has had a problem with a popup saying he needs to update his Flash. Leo says that's a phishing scam designed to get him to install Malware. Luckily, Windows Defender usually sees it and removes it because it's an old tactic. But if it didn't, it may be really difficult to get rid of the malware. Usually, the best thing to do is backup his data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall and update Windows. Never accept gifts from strangers. He shouldn't download from someone he doesn't know. He should always go directly to the source if he thinks he needs to update something.
According to a recent study funded by Google, 15% of users have reported that their email or social media account was taken over due to phishing scams. Leo says that over 25 million users were bit by an email phishing scam, while about 35,000 were victim to keystroke loggers. Leo says that this is the season for scams and that users may get emails from the "IRS" or even phone calls demanding personal information. It's always a scam and users shouldn't fall for it.
Cynthia cut the cord for a Roku about eight months ago. Now everything has stopped working and she has to pay to turn it back on. Rich says that Cynthia may have been bit by a phishing scam. He suggests having the credit card company charge it back. She shouldn't have to pay to reauthorize the box. She'll pay for the subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. But not for the box itself since she already bought it. Then she should do a factory reset on the Roku. That will make it work like the first day she bought it. She should try to watch out for scams in the future.
Brad's mother has been getting calls from "Microsoft" saying that her computer may be hacked. Is that legit? Leo says it's a scam. They use a robot dialer to randomly call numbers out of the phone book and will try and get victims to install something or give them remote access to the computer. Once they have that, the game is up. Microsoft will NEVER call you.
Myrna got a notification that she needed to run special software in order to get back on Facebook. Leo says that chances are good that Myrna downloaded a virus. She has to be careful when responding to popups. They're usually "phishing" scams designed to get her to run a scan or download software. It's a red flag that they're going to break into her system and use it. Since Myrna fell for it, the only safe thing to do is back up her data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.
Joe gets emails from his brother and vice versa telling them to go to another site. Leo says that's a phishing scam using spam to do it. It's likely that the return address has been spoofed. We've seen this happen often with users of Yahoo mail.
ScooterX in the chatroom says that whoever clicks on the link in the email sends the same email to others in their contact list. So it may be that both have clicked on that link and sent it out.
Lisa went to a website and she got a pop up notification that her computer was infected and to call an 800 number to Microsoft. Leo says not to ever call them -- just exit the popup and move on. It's not infected and those popups are designed to insnare users. It's called a phishing scam. Lisa did it anyway, though, and gave them control of a computer. Leo says that's bad news because she doesn't really know what the hacker's done. He can install viruses on her or turn it into a bot, a keystroke logger, and use remote access to turn on her camera.