Beware of Scareware

 

Designed to scare you into action, these real-looking popup windows "warn" you about "security vulnerabilities" and urge you to call a 1-800 number for help.  The thing is, it's a scam -- these popups (see examples below) are NOT from Microsoft, your internet provider, the manufacturer of your computer, your antivirus software, or any other legitimate business.

 

Find more examples HERE

Note: This link will take you to a website not directly controlled by Georgia Power Northwest Federal Credit Union.  This linked website may have privacy policies different than that of Georgia Power Northwest Federal Credit Union and that may provide less security; please consult the linked website's privacy policy for further information.

 

What will happen if I call or click on the link?

Bad things happen if you do what the messages tell you.  If you call the number, you will be routed to a fraudulent company (usually overseas) and an agent will attempt to connect to your computer to capture sensitive data such as credit card numbers and banking information.  If the popup includes a link, and you click it, you'll likely trigger a malware installation.

 

Where do they come from?

These popups mostly generate from inadvertantly typing a website wrong, such as "fcaebook.com" or "gogle.com", or by clicking a corrupted link.  Malware designers will even go so far as buy rights to misspelled web addresses, just so they have a way to catch unsuspecting victims.

 

Usually these phising attempts are generic, but, on occasion, the emails or popups will resolve the customer's IP address and embed the ISP name into the source in attempt to make it more convincing.

 

What can I do?

Don't call and don't click on any link!

 

While having a strong antivirus software is always recommended, you should also know that most antivirus programs do not and will not detect these popups due to the way the scammer's code is executed in the browser.  Some browser security add-ons may stop the popup, but it is not 100% guaranteed.

 

To get rid of the popup, turn your computer off and back on again (a hard reboot).  This will usually solve the problem...that is unless you happen upon another scareware "trap" in the future.

 

What if I already called and gave them access to my computer?

If you did call or click on the link, you should shut down your computer immediately, then make two phone calls.  The first should be to us here at the Credit Union to let us know your account may have been compromised.  The other should be to your internet service provider, who can help you determine what you should do to disinfect and secure your computer.  You may end up needing professional help.  Some legitimate companies, such as Remote PC Support, can access your computer and rid it of malware.

 

One last word...

There is another way that you could fall victim to this type of fraud.  You may receive a telephone call where the person on the other end of the line claims to be from Microsoft (or some other computer-related company), saying that they have received an alert that your computer is infected.  They will direct you to a website that will give them access to your computer (just like the scareware would have done).  No one from Microsoft, or any other legitimate company, will ever call you and ask for access to your computer.  Again, if you have already fallen victim to this, follow the instructions above.

 

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