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Security & privacy

Windows users watch out for this fake Microsoft notification

Do you ever get tired of scams? Maybe you haven’t fallen for one, and that’s a good thing. But even then, at some point it would just be nice if people could go about their lives honestly and not try to take advantage of others.

The style varies and even the way they try to trick you differs, but the general point is the same. You ultimately, willingly, provide personal information and the scammers make some money.

One that has been going around for a while now involves Microsoft. Not that it’s anything Microsoft has done, rather it targets Windows users and convinces them there is a problem that needs to be solved.

You may have already come across it

It seems to pop up randomly, which is part of why it can be so effective. You are browsing the internet when all of a sudden you get a notification that appears to be from Microsoft regarding your Windows.

In essence, it claims to be a security message informing that your computer was infected and has now been locked. It goes on to say closing the page without resolving the issue will lead to your computer being disabled so as to not further damage their network, noting that things like your Facebook login, credit card information, email credentials and browsing history and data are at risk.

You are then instructed to contact them immediately, that way they can guide you through the computer recovery process. The call must be made within five minutes, however, lest your computer be totally lost.

A number for an alleged Microsoft engineer is provided, and if you call, you end up becoming a victim.

It can be a pain to get rid of

This scam comes via an advertisement that redirects you to sites where the scam is present. The ads are displayed by adware that has been installed on your computer, or perhaps through some sites that display them as a way to earn additional revenue.

Sometimes, if you see the scam pop up, all you need to do is close your web browser. You can then open it back up again, just making sure not to go to the site where the notification was seen.

But sometimes that’s not enough to rid yourself of the problem, which continues to pop up. If that’s the case, your issue is likely malware-based, meaning you will need to remove it from your computer.

How to get rid of a fraudulent tech-support pop-up message

Like all scams, they only work if we let them. Recognizing this one as being illegitimate will save you plenty of trouble.

Sure, you may still be annoyed for having to deal with it, but a little bit of time wasted is infinitely better than having to deal with financial problems or credit issues that could arise from calling the number and providing information.

Be that as it may, it’s still something no one wants to deal with. So, if closing the browser does not rid you of it, you will need to go through a handful of steps to remove it once and for all.

It’s actually a simple process to close one of these messages. Here is what you need to do:

  • Click on the Windows search box in the lower-left corner
  • Search for Task Manager
  • Open Task Manager
  • Right-click on the browser you have open listed under the Processes tab and click End — If you have multiple tabs open, repeat this step for each tab

Also, here are some suggestions from police on how to protect yourself:

  • Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or PIN codes.
  • Remember: Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

Tech support you can trust

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