Fake antivirus software has been an incredibly annoying problem for many years. But today, fake antivirus software is becoming more frustrating than ever thanks to the increasing cleverness of scam artists, who now use ‘free’ tech support calls to try to lure users into installing crapware onto their machines.
How it works
-First, the user will accidentally download some type of virus file. Sometimes, the virus masks itself in the form of a legitimate file, like a browser plugin or free video player. After installing the software, the true nature of the virus appears.
-The computer might lock down, or nothing might happen until the next restart. But at some point, the user’s computer will begin to display warning messages about the presence of thousands of problems on the PC that need to be immediately fixed.
-If users try to close out of the program or uninstall it, the software just gets angry. It locks users out of the computer’s most important functions, including the Task Manager and any installed antivirus software. It appears like there’s no way to remove the problem – and the user is lift at their computer sitting frustrated.
-But wait! Suddenly, the user’s home telephone rings. And what do you know? It’s somebody from Microsoft’s official security team who just happened to notice that the user’s PC was experiencing some difficulties. The scam artist will offer to fix the PC simply by installing free scanning software.
-Once that scanning software is installed, it will of course detect the virus, after which the tech support professional will demand $275 for his services and the removal software.
-If you pay the $275, then the virus is removed. But you’ve just been thoroughly scammed by one clever con artist.
And they’re getting smarter
Scam artists usually aren’t stupid. And finding the home phone numbers of PC users and individually calling each one in the hopes of finding someone to take the bait isn’t an ideal strategy.
That’s why these losers have developed a different approach: after the virus software has been installed on a PC, the same warning messages will pop up. However, instead of following the warning messages with a home phone call, the security scans will simply display a phone number to call directly on that warning message.
Since the number appears to be a genuine 1-800 number from a legitimate Microsoft source, unwary computer users see no reason not to call. Hook, line, and sinker.
How to be smarter
-Hang up the phone. No Microsoft tech support person is going to cold call you offering to install diagnostic software onto your system. It doesn’t happen.
–Only download software from trusted sources on the internet
–Run antivirus software or optimization software like PC Cleaner Pro at all times
If you can follow those three rules, then you’ve just prevented 99% of these fake tech support/antivirus scam artists from getting what they want.