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Posted 4/4/2018

Pop-up ads that warn people their computers are infected with a virus/malware or that the computer is in need of repair are on the rise.  They often prompt the user to call a phone number or click a link to get help.  The alerts are designed to create a sense of urgency.  They may state that your computer will be locked/blocked from the network to prevent further damage and urge you to call in the next 5 minutes to prevent being locked out of your computer and programs. 

When people call, they get a smooth talking scammer who will sound legitimate and very helpful.  The scammer may even pretend to be from a reputable company like Microsoft or Apple and offer to help by asking you to give them remote access to your computer which allows them to change settings, or install malware/spyware that gives them access to sensitive information like user names and passwords.  They may ask for credit card information so they can bill you for fake services, or they may even try to get you to log in to your online banking so they can get your user name and password.

If you get a pop-up, email, phone call, or any other urgent message about a virus on your computer - STOP!   Don't click on anything, don't call the number on the pop-up, don’t download anything, and don't give anyone control of your computer.

If you are concerned about your computer, contact your security software company directly-but don’t use the phone number provided on the pop-up.  Make sure to locate the phone number through an independent source.  It’s a good idea to already have their contact information on hand so it is readily available if needed. 

Remember to keep your anti-virus/malware/spyware software up to date and to regularly back up everything you aren’t willing to lose (financial information, family photographs, etc…)

Malicious ads can be reported to the FTC online at