Identifying fake pop-up messages & errors. Most people that use the internet have, at some point or another, had something pop up on their screen informing them that there is some sort of issue with their computer. Most commonly these messages will attempt to convince the user that there is something wrong with their computer. These types of scams are VERY common and seeing these messages will often scare the user enough into following the prompted instructions and inevitably cause problems.
Methods for avoiding being a victim of this scam:
Consider which website the pop up manifested from. If the website that caused this error is one that you’re not familiar with or have newly visited, you may want to consider avoiding that site.
It is important to remember that most commonly used browsers (e.g. Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, etc.) come with very basic online protection services and are, a great majority of the time, unable to detect if there is any type of issue related to viruses, malware, etc. Therefore, if a message appears stating that there is an issue with your computer, it is a safe bet that it is most likely fraudulent.
Although most internet browsers are not able to detect actual computer issues, they are able to identify a website that could potentially be a security risk. If upon entering a website you are prompted with a message that is warning you about the potential harm the website could cause, it is usually in your best interest to the avoid that website.
The most important way to avoid being a victim of these pop-up error scams, is too NEVER call the number attached to the prompted message. Calling that number is the start of a potentially wild ride with an online scammer. It’s also important to keep in mind that Microsoft (or pretty much any other company for that matter) will never directly send you message directing to call them. There are situations in which you may be contacted by a company such as Microsoft, but it will almost always be via email.
So, if you’re ever in the situation where you’re suddenly startled by a loud beeping message box demanding you call them for technical support, keep these tips in mind and save yourself from being their next cyber-scam victim.
By: Taylor Wolfe