“Microsoft Has Detected A Virus on Your Computer”

These annoyingly scary pop-ups are becoming prevalent and causing some computer owners to fall victim to money scams. Here how it works:

You’re happily surfing the Internet or reading your email online when suddenly your screen fills itself with this dreaded message. You’re not sure what to do but the virus alert gives you a phone number to call along with the warning that if you attempt to close your browser or turn off your machine your computer may be irreparably damaged.

You call the number and a very helpful person with, nine times out of ten, an Indian accent offers to help you. They ask for access to your computer, and you watch as they pull up scary looking reports and point out how you have hundreds or thousands of viruses. For a fee that can range anywhere from $80 to $400, these helpful individuals say they will clean your computer for you.

First of all, don’t panic when a pop-up like this comes up on your screen. I know it’s hard to do especially if there’s a voice coming over your speakers telling you your computer is infected, but take a breath and press (on a Windows computer) the Control, Alt, and Delete keys altogether. Your screen should switch to a menu where you can click on Task Manager. This will bring up a box where you can choose your browser from a list of open programs and then click on End. If you have an iMac or MacBook, click on Alt (Option), Command, and Esc altogether. From the pop-up box click on your browser’s name and then click Force Quit.

These script pop-ups are annoying and are rampant on sites that don’t fully inspect the ads on their pages. Sadly, Yahoo and AOL are two sites that these pop-ups appear fairly regularly which is why people fall for calling the scammers for help. The feeling seems to be that Yahoo and AOL are big companies so they MUST clean. The virus pop-up MUST be real. It’s not so don’t fall into the scammer’s trap.

If you think your computer has a virus, call us first and let us help.