What To Do If You Come Across A Scam Message
What To Do If You Come Across A Scam Message
By Kellyn Delgado from Gattai Digital
I've had several clients last year have issues with finding scam ads on their computers saying things like "Your Computer Is Infected" and "Your Computer Is Locked, Give Us A Call To Fix It" or something like that. In each of these cases there isn't actually a virus on the computer but these messages do do stuff in the browser that can scare you into thinking something is actually happening even though it's not. When in doubt, I always encourage all my clients to give me a call to get whatever the problem is fixed, even if it's just a simple question. Today, I'm going to do you one better and give you a few tips on how to avoid these messages and what to do if you come across one. Knowledge is power folks and I want to give you the power to avoid these scams once and for all!
If You Come Across A Scam Message
Stop, Look, and Close
In a scary and delicate situation like this the first thing you want to do is stop what you're doing and look very closely at the message you are seeing. This will help you determine what to do next. I'll give you some pointers now on what to look for but in any case, if you're not sure give me a call or text me and I'll help you out. The next thing you need to do is see if you can click on the Close button in your browser. In most cases you can get rid of these messages by simply closing your browser and reopening it and then you can start a new search, go to a new website or whatever. If you are able to just close the browser you should be good to go from there on. If not, read on.
If Your Browser Won't Close
If the scare message doesn't let you close your browser the next thing you'll need to try is to end the process. In Windows you can do this by pressing CTRL + ALT + DELETE on your keyboard at the same time and then clicking on Task Manager on the menu that appears. Then you highlight your web browser and click End Task. This will force your browser to close and you can reopen it and everything should be back to normal. If you are using a Mac, press the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys at the same time. This will bring up the Force Quit option and you can highlight the browser you want to close and click Force Quit. And that's all there is to it. If these options still don't work for you, reboot your computer. This will force all programs to close and you can start again anew.
If All Else Fails
Sometimes a scare/scam message will pop up and due to certain settings on your computer the above methods will not work. In this case, you should call me or whoever normally services your computer for help. DO NOT call the number that the scare message gives you because they will rip you off. A professional like myself should be able to walk you through the steps to remove the threat and help prevent you from running into the issue again.
How To Avoid Future Issues
Here are a few quick tips to help avoid getting another scam message. I can't promise you will avoid all of them with these tips but you certainly avoid most of them.
Get An Ad Blocker
Now that you know how to get past those messages, I will now tell you how to avoid these scam messages. The first step is to get an Ad Blocker. I have another blog post where I talk about an Ad Blocker that I like and how to download it but there are other options as well if you do a Google Search. These Ad Blockers will block both annoying and malicious ads like the scam messages you get but will also try to whitelist acceptable ads that can help your favorite sites make money. In my experience, the Ad Blocker knock out 95% of my clients potential scam messages.
Be Careful When Searching
I find that a lot of clients run into problems when they are typing something they are looking for into Google and Bing. The first 3 results are usually ads and these ads might be malicious ads trying to get you to click on them and you end up with a virus or one of those scam messages. Ads on Google will usually have a green AD badge on the second line of the search result. Just don't click on them and choose the first non-ad result and you will be fine.
When In Doubt Call A Guru
If a link looks strange to you, don't click it but sometimes that's easier said than done for those that aren't super tech savvy. That's where a tech support service like mine comes in handy. I offer prepay tickets that give you unlimited email questions and I can remote in if you have an issue with something. I also offer service plans with free email questions as well. So there's no need to blindly click on links, you can just ask me whenever you need to.
I hope all these tips can help you avoid these scam messages. Please feel free to book an appointment with me if you have any questions or feedback for these articles. Happy computing!