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Pop-up alerts aren’t just meant to distract or annoy computer users. Sometimes, they are designed to unleash infectious malware or scam users out of money.
And the quickest way to get a user to click a button and agree to submit their payment information is to instill a sense of fear — which is exactly what hackers are trying to do with pop-up alert scams.
Our advice? Don’t click that button.
The content of the pop-up alerts is familiar. Most warn a user that a virus has been detected on their computer, and hoping the user is thoroughly worried, the pop-up alert will encourage the user to click a button that will fix the problem.
It won’t. In fact, it will create more problems. Here are a few more things to know about these sneaky pop-ups.
They aren’t found on healthy sites. Most often, these pop-up alert scams are only found on websites that have themselves been hijacked or infected. Fake pop-up alerts give themselves away by their spelling and grammatical errors as well as their low-quality imagery.
Legitimate antivirus software companies don’t operate this way. When a pop-up encourages a user to engage with a different website that requires financial information, it’s time to be suspicious. Honest antivirus software companies require subscriptions and won’t ask for payment after allegedly detecting a virus.
They want you to feel uneasy. Pop-up alert scams want users to feel anxious about the “infection” that has been detected. To do that, the alerts will claim that users have several viruses or that they need to call their experts to safely secure their system. However, users are advised to ignore those suggestions because hackers will likely create even more panic during a phone call to encourage a user to pay for illegitimate help.
They won’t be easy to close. Scams that use pop-up alerts are often difficult to close. Users can have a tough time closing out the pop-up window, by design, and sometimes they won’t be able to close it at all. The best way to avoid getting tangled in a pop-up scam is to navigate away from the website being used.
Scan your device if you’re worried. If you’ve clicked on a pop-up ad, by trying to close it or just by accident, it’s a good idea to run a manual virus scan — just to be safe. An antivirus scan should pick up any threats and either put your mind at ease or prompt you to take further action. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to run a scan every now and then.
Pop-ups are preventable. To avoid being confronted with false pop-up alerts, it’s best to use a complete antivirus security service, keep your system, browser and security updated, don’t engage with spam emails, and check for the legitimacy of apps before downloading — among other preventative measures.
Contact us to learn more about how our computer experts can offer you ongoing support for any issues you’re experiencing!