INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Curtis Hill is warning Hoosiers to beware of deceptive pop-up alerts on their computers claiming that their devices are infected with viruses and could be vulnerable to hackers.
Individuals are being targeted through pop-up messages designed to resemble security alerts from legitimate computer manufacturers or other technology companies. The pop-up alerts claim that a computer user’s device has been infected and requires immediate attention or else the hard drive will be deleted. In reality, the user’s device typically has not been infected with a virus.
The pop-up alerts often provide a toll-free number at which users supposedly may receive assistance. Once consumers call the number on the pop-up alert, they are told to give remote access to their computers to allow a “help desk” to run a series of “diagnostic tests” to find the source of the problem so that a “certified technician” may repair the problem. If the person posing as a tech support specialist obtains access, he or she can steal personal information, usernames and passwords to commit identity theft or send spam messages. In some cases, individuals are persuaded to pay fees – sometimes hundreds of dollars – in order to fix the supposed issues on their computers. The caller may even be asked for a wired payment or credit card information.
Tech support scams aren’t exclusive to pop-up alerts on your computer. Scammers will also call claiming to work for Microsoft, Windows or another trusted company and ask for remote access of the targeted victim’s computer — hoping to steal personal and sensitive information. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) has received 111 tech support complaints so far this year.
The CPD advises individuals to ignore these security alert pop-ups in order to avoid losing their hard-earned money to one of the fastest-growing scams on the internet.
Hoosiers are encouraged to contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General if they believe they have been scammed. You can reach the CPD by visiting IndianaConsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.