Fake Anti Virus Scam

In October 2017 we reported on Fake News and some of the scams associated with it. Unfortunately, fraudsters have come up with a new internet scam which is similar to last year’s click bait trend of Fake News and toxic adverts. This time around, instead of the usual fake Microsoft call centre we now have a Fake Anti-Virus renewal message that pops up on your screen asking you to “renew now as your subscription has recently expired”. When you click on the renew button you are asked for login details and a credit card number.

Then you are then asked to phone a (so-called) premium rate support site where you will be asked to give the person on the phone remote access to your PC, oh and be advised that that unfortunately your credit card information wasn’t accepted so could you please provide them with a different card number (by which point they’ll be happily buying untraceable Bit Coins using both cards you’ve just given them).

Finally, to add insult to major financial injury, they’ll direct you to a third fake website where you will be asked to type in more card details and have some toxic software on your PC for the privilege.

So, what do you do if a message pops up telling you to renew your anti-virus, call a call centre or do anything like remote support? Firstly, a message that pops up whilst you are on the internet should immediately arouse suspicion. But if it does, you need to force your browser to shut down by pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE (all at the same time), opening Task Manager, then selecting your web browser (it’ll probably be called Edge, Chrome, Firefox or iexplore) and clicking the End Task button. This will kill the fraudsters web page. Once you have done this, you can reopen your web browser BUT DO NOT TRY TO RESTORE THE PREVIOUS SESSION.

How do you prevent it from happening in first place? Firstly, make sure your web browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) is up to date. Secondly, make sure your computer has all the available updates from Microsoft or Apple. Thirdly, make sure you have an adblocker installed (Adblock Plus is a good one and is available from www.adblockplus.org).

If you have been a victim of on-line fraud, report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk (or call 0300 123 2040) and also ensure you inform your bank, credit card company or building society.

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Philip Brooks