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.
Tom has a friend who gave a technician remote access after calling a number in a popup ad for his Echo. Leo says he fell victim to a scam and there's a good chance that his computer is infected with malware, a key logger, remote access trojans, the works. At this point, the only safe thing to do is backup the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, safe source, then update. Only then can he be sure his computer is safe.
Bob is having trouble with popups and other stuff when he browses in Google Chrome. Rich says that using Chrome, there is a utility called "Clean up computer" that will work. He should use the hamburger icon on the left hand side and then go to Menu > Settings > Advanced. Then select "Clean up computer." It'll clean up all those pesky popup cookies and other bits that cause his browser fits.
Barb keeps getting a popup that says she needs to update her drivers, and it wants her to pay for it. Leo says that Barb is right to be suspicious about it. Drivers are free from the manufacturer. The popups come from the browser and websites can use that to try and get her to buy stuff. Chances are, her granddaughter went to a site triggered popups. Can she get rid of them? Leo says she can use a popup blocker in her browser to do it. It's in her browser settings.
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.
Dave has a Samsung Galaxy Tab and he's worried it may have malware. He's getting strange popups. Leo says it's possible, since Android is more porous to malware than iOS is. If he hasn't updated it lately, that could be part of the problem. Leo suggests backing up the data on the tablet and doing a factory reset. He'll have to reinstall all of his apps, but Leo suspects that a rogue app is the problem. Then he can reinstall them one at a time until the culprit reveals itself.
Kathleen's elderly Aunt has a Windows computer which she uses to access Facebook and then Outlook for email. Her problem is that she has had a ton of malware and phishing scams that have cost her a lot of money. Leo says that the elderly have always been easy prey to scam artists. It won't happen on a Chromebook though, and she should really have her get one. Leo says to be her administrator and give her a regular user account. But even at the end of the day, that won't stop her from calling a number.
Jennifer's computer has been displaying a message that her computer has been blocked unless she calls a number. Leo says it's probably a popup from the browser. There's nothing wrong with her computer -- it's a scam. She should just clear her browser cache, then reboot the computer and it should be fine.
Victoria has an 09 iMac that runs El Capitan, but she got bit by ransomware. Leo says that's odd because the only ransomware is called "Transmission" and it's been eradicated after only being out in the wild for a day through Bittorrent. She gets a pop up that says "your computer is infected," though. Leo says that doesn't mean she has ransomware. It's actually a phishing scam trying to get her to install malware. And she can't get infected by it anyway. What it does mean is that the website is infected and she should avoid it.
Tom has a Samsung Galaxy Note V with Sprint. Lately he's been getting a warning of being infected. Leo says that's nonsense. We're starting to see these popups in mobile phones like we did running a browser in Windows. It's likely a phishing attempt to get him to buy something. Tom should just keep his phone up to date when a patch is offered from his provider, and he'll be fine. He's not infected.