Computer Scam Artists and Viruses in Minneapolis St. Paul MN
Over the past few months, SpeakGeek PCs has gotten calls from customers about Microsoft or even AT&T calling them, explaining that they need to get onto my customer’s computer because they found viruses or the computer might be out of date. A few of my clients had this issue, because they were trying to get a hold of Microsoft Support or even AT&T customer service, and somehow managed to contact one of these scam artists. They were told that it would be $500 to log into their computer to analyze where the problem is, and another $500 to fix the issues. So what you end up doing is giving money to a scam artist that will most likely put a key-logger program on your computer, to get logins for bank accounts and other sensitive information.
One of my customers wrote me this email recently:
“I am so pleased with the service I received from SpeakGeek in Minneapolis. A few months ago, one of your technicians came to our home to remove viruses on my husband’s laptop. In addition to removing the viruses, he installed an anti-virus software on both of our laptops which we run on a regular basis. We have not had a virus problem since the software was installed. While he was servicing our laptops he told us about several scams that other people in Minneapolis were experiencing. He informed us about the calls from scammers claiming to be from Microsoft and wanting access to our computers online. A short time later we started receiving calls from the scammers. If your technician had not told us about the scam we probably would have been victims. SpeakGeek is a very excellent computer service and we will definitely call you back if we have any future computer problems. Thank you so much.”
Another customer of mine caught the Ransomware virus, which basically locks up your most important files and the creators of the virus demands a ransom from the customer in order for them to get their files back. Took about a week to remove, because the customer had thousands of documents that were effected. SpeakGeek had to remove all of the files from each folder and recreate the folder because the lock was on the folders, not the files.
Some Tips on how to avoid viruses:
- Avoid clicking on everything. There are thousands of banner ads and popups on the internet that are designed to get your attention and make you click. Due to the way most modern browsers work, there are very few ways for you to get infected with something online UNLESS you click on it yourself. This means you should avoid clicking on banners for offers that are too good to be true.
- Make sure your browser is configured to always ask before running files and downloading automatically. If you have to confirm everything, you are much less likely to get infected.
- Beware of misleading popups. Some of the most nefarious popups on the internet are designed to mimic the look of legitimate anti-virus software. These popups attempt to trick the user into thinking their antivirus software has found an infection. When you click the popup, however, the adware is actually installed.
- Instead of clicking the warning, close the popup window and open the antivirus program on your computer. You most likely will not see any warnings. If you are still worried, run a scan using your installed software.
- Don’t try clicking the “X” to close the popup window, as this will usually lead to more popups. Instead, use the Task Manager to get rid of it.
- Other popups may warn of an infection that only their software can fix. No legitimate antivirus company will advertise their product this way, so avoid clicking on any of these popups.
- Check to ensure that your browser is configured to block popups.
- Clear your cache. Popups can store information in your browser’s cache, leading to them reappearing constantly. To help prevent this, clear your browser’s cache regularly.
- Don’t go where you’re not supposed to. As viruses are illegal, they thrive on other illegal sites. Avoid sites that let you download copyrighted content or other illegal communities. File sharing is a quick way to get infected files. You will find that your computer is much less prone to infection if you avoid things you shouldn’t be doing.
- Besides viruses from files you download, many of these sites will have a litany of annoying popups and misleading advertisements. All of these could lead to virus and spyware infection.
If you have any other questions about scams or viruses, or just want to know more on how to protect yourself, please contact us! We’re here to help!