Don’t be fooled by these dodgy internet pop-up scams

ACCC warns consumers about the latest tricks targeting your computer.

Don’t be fooled by these dodgy internet pop-up scams

Australians aged 45 and over are falling victim to a pop-up internet ad scam that allows scammers to steal their personal data, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The dodgy pop-up windows appear on computers claiming the device is infected with viruses or other malicious software and providing an official-looking phone number (usually a 1800 number) to rectify the problem.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard explained in a statement that if you call the number, the scammer will then ask for remote access to your computer.

“Once a scammer has remote access to your computer they can install malicious software, steal your personal data, con you into paying for a ‘service’ of your PC, or sell you unnecessary software to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” Ms Rickard said.

“These scammers are very convincing and sound like they’re the real deal when talking about tech issues. The pop-ups they create to lure people in look legitimate and are often made to imitate trusted websites for brands like Microsoft and Apple.”

Perhaps most alarmingly, these pop-ups often freeze the computer or stop the close button on your browser from being activated, making it appear as though the threat of harm being done to your computer is real.

“Your first and best line of defence against this scam is to not call that number and close the pop-up if possible,” Ms Rickard said.

Affected users can close the pop up manually through Windows Task Manager (for PC users) or by using the Activity Monitor (for Mac users). If this fails to work, they can also shut down and restart their computer.

“If you do call the number never give a stranger – no matter how legitimate they sound – remote access to your computer,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you think you’ve been caught by this scam, call your bank immediately and let them know what happened to protect your personal bank and/or credit card details. If your credit card was charged for sham software or servicing, you can try to get your money back.”

Scamwatch has already received an average of 300 reports a month about this scam in 2017, with more than $41,000 lost in total. Australians aged 45 and over are most likely to encounter and lose money to this scam, according to the ACCC.

The ACCC’s Little Black Book of Scams is a good way to spot and avoid scams and has been updated to include these latest remote-access tricks.

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    COMMENTS

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    The pom
    13th Apr 2017
    11:32am
    I have had a few of these pop-ups occur and immediately close the window and sometimes the window won't close so I do a restart, closing everything down. I must admit the first time it occurred I spent a few minutes looking at it before thinking it was a con, and closing it down
    Koj
    13th Apr 2017
    11:50am
    corrr.... have you been onto one of those funny sites with ahem....pictures of people?
    Foxy
    13th Apr 2017
    2:34pm
    The Pom - exact same thing happened to me!! You cannot get rid of these "pop-ups" without closing everything down! Must confess also - I thought - "Ohhh noooo - now what am I gonna' do" .....clever people these scammers!!
    AussieTuca
    13th Apr 2017
    11:51am
    Yeah... They are occurring more and more often. My advice as a retired IT Engineer:

    Close the windows immediately as The Pom said. Most of the times there is no need to restart: open the Task Manager (Crtl-Alt-Del and click on task manager) and terminate the browser processes (IE, Forefox, etc). Open the browser again.

    If it didn't work then restart.

    If it is Ransonware asking for money to unlock it then you have to ask a technician to clean it up. There are anti-ransonware freeware available.

    Always backup your important files, doc, pics, etc...
    Misty
    14th Apr 2017
    1:56am
    We got caught my son thought it was legit and had opened up and rung that no and was waiting for them to call him back, I was suspicious and rang my cluey nephew who told us to download Malawear and use that to get rid of the scam which it did.
    Misty
    14th Apr 2017
    1:56am
    We got caught my son thought it was legit and had opened up and rung that no and was waiting for them to call him back, I was suspicious and rang my cluey nephew who told us to download Malawear and use that to get rid of the scam which it did.
    KB
    14th Apr 2017
    10:59am
    I have had a few of these pop ups and just ignore them
    FrankC
    14th Apr 2017
    3:18pm
    Sounds like the young man or lady from Telstra in Mumbai telling me they have a problem with my account. I would think they did as I am not with Telstra. I ask them if they have nothing better to do than annoy people with blatant lies? These bastards don't give up do they.
    Misty
    3rd May 2017
    3:01pm
    I just tell them if they don't hang up I am calling the police, they hang up pronto.
    musicveg
    19th Apr 2017
    12:24am
    Use adblock.
    Melody
    3rd May 2017
    2:39pm
    I get these scams quite often for reasons I know not. Never opened them but go to the very bottom of the initial page and in very small writing they have an "unsubscribe" note.
    There you see the dodgy business who've sent it to you, usually some unrelated overseas company. So - unsubscribe!! Again and again.


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