Tech Support Scams

Have you ever received a call claiming to be from Microsoft saying that your computer needs technical assistance?  They will try to convince you that there is a problem that they need to fix.  This is one form of a tech scam. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and don’t give out any information.

This past week, I came across another tech scam where the user’s internet browser was essentially hijacked by the scammer.  A message came up on the browser with words to the effect that the computer had been locked because of a security issue and the only way to protect the computer is to call the listed phone number.  The browser wouldn’t close and rebooting the computer didn’t clear the message.

I was able to clear the malicious pop-up, by opening the task manager and closing the browser. It took twice before the web site went away.  Open the task manager by right-clicking on the task bar at the bottom of your computer and selecting “Task Manager”.  You can also hold down the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys at the same time and select “Task Manager”.  The Task Manager shows a list of programs that are currently running on your computer.  In this case, Internet Explorer was the program I wanted to close, so I clicked on it and then clicked the “End Task” button.

The tricky part of this tech scam is that reopening your browser may reopen the page with the scam on it.  I was lucky and closing it twice did the trick.  Running a Malwarebytes scan regularly will keep some of these scams off your computer.  Most importantly, don’t call any phone numbers that claim to be able to clean your computer of viruses or unlock your computer.  Legitimate virus and malware protection companies won’t ask you to call them and they won’t call you either.

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