It’s Back! New and Improved Browser Scam
Just when you think it’s safe to go back into the water, sorry, web the scams start rolling in again. Each time they appear they have been modified ever so slightly but are really the same old scam. This one I have been hit with on Facebook with three different versions. The latest version has added an obnoxious alarm and the message has been modified to really inspire fear for your computer security.
“Warning your computer has notified Microsoft that it has been infected by a virus or spyware has been detected and is currently downloading your financial and personal information……”
A number is listed for you to call to fix this problem and remove the spyware from your computer. IT IS A SCAM!!! I did shut down my computer but it was still there when I restarted my computer so I ran my security which then gave me a choice to shut down the offending message which I did.
Here are a few things I have noticed about these scams:
- The sites where I unfortunately encountered this scam have all been FAKE. I opened them more out of curiosity and instantly regretted it since I was greeted with a loud siren and the scam. In each instance I later fact checked these things on the web and found they were indeed fake stories.
- The fake stories were what would be called sensationalism: death of a celebrity, political scandal, politician divorcing spouse, etc. This scam is called click bait.
- When I returned to Facebook the fake stories were nowhere to be found. Hmmm, interesting.
How can you protect yourself and your computer?
- Learn how to use your security software and scan your computer regularly.
- Learn how to do your own fact checking. The internet is a good tool but you need to know how to navigate it to find what you want.
- If you think you have run into a scam RUN! Do not continue close the window or site down immediately. You may need to shut down your computer. You can go to the company’s website and check for scams involving that company. Many companies like Microsoft have places on their websites to report scams and will list all the scams they know about.
- Learn the procedures and policies of the companies like Microsoft in this case but other companies would include your bank, credit card companies etc.; how they will notify you about problems. I contacted my web provider about a phone call I received that was supposed to be from them and learned exactly how they deal with problems they find and here are a few things the tech shared with me.
- They will never call you and ask for your password – they don’t need it to fix problems with your web service.
- They will never call and ask for money before they will fix a problem because that is part of the monthly service for which I pay each month.
- If they find a problem they will fix it without calling you.
- If a piece of hardware needs to be updated or replaced they will send a postcard with instructions and if a replacement component is needed, i.e. a router, they will usually send it with instructions.
- If you have an IT company, learn their policies and procedures. Find out what protocols they have for dealing with scams and security breaches. Know who you should call and what to do when you call.
- If you have a business make sure you have a protocol for dealing with scams and security breaches and that your employees are trained in that protocol.
You are your own best line of defense against scams. Learn about your computer, its security systems, your web provider and their policies and procedures. Report any scams to the companies involved. Do not give out personal information; never give out your password(s); and most of all keep informed.
One last thing, the scammers in the world will keep trying to part you from you money. As one scam gets reported they are already working on the next so you have to keep alert and protect yourself.