FAQ- Virus Pop Up Warning

General questions

A “virus” warning popped up? Do NOT call that number! Do NOT get scammed!!

 

How does this happen?

These Tech Support pop-ups or virus warnings are caused by an ad-supported extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, which is distributed through various monetization platforms during installation. The malicious browser extensions are typically added when you install another free software (video recording/streaming, download-managers or PDF creators, etc) that had bundled into their installation this adware program.

  • You landed on a malicious web site that started this process, i.e. that web site immediately put up a fake "virus" alert, designed to keep you trapped.
  • You might have clicked a link on some other web site, or in an advertisement, or in an email, and then landed on a malicious site.
  • Most important to know, you did nothing wrong. Scammers are everywhere, it will happen to us all evidentially. The important thing is to be informed and know what to do WHEN it happens.

How will it start?

You're using your computer when out of the blue a "virus" or "infection" or "suspicious connection" warning pops up on your screen. It will probably use a variety of technical-sounding phrases to tell you that there's a problem, and that you are at risk for all kinds of scary consequences ("computer damage," "data corruption", etc.). You might see multiple pop-ups. At the end of this text there is a phone number you can call to get help. Do NOT call that number! This is a scam, plain and simple. These messages are designed to scare you. The message on the screen will probably have an “OK” button that, when you click it, closes and then immediately reopens the alert, making you feel trapped, and reinforcing the illusion that you have only one option, to call the number.

What you should do when this happens instead of calling the number?

  • Stop.
  • Take a breath.
  • Don't panic.
  • Call or text someone in the tech dept.

Where to go from here?

  • Be skeptical.
  • Don't believe everything you read on your computer screen.
  • Don't give strangers access into your computer. Only work with people you trust, or recommended by someone you trust.
  • Keep your computer's operating system and antivirus/security software up-to-date.