Fish gotta swim, scammers gotta scam. You are minding your own business, surfing the web, and then this pops up. What do you do? These are internet scammers at work here. Be careful.
This actually is NOTHING. What you do next matters though.
Pop Up Goes The Weasel
This is just a pop up. Many times the web page will also go Full Screen and makes it look like your computer is frozen and that you need to call that number to get it fixed. What you need to do is:
- Hit the Escape Key on your keyboard. If nothing happens then
- Hit the F11 key or sometimes Function + F11 key
This will remove the full screen and you will plainly see that it is just a web page. You should then just close the screen and forget it ever happened. Nothing happened to your computer.
Never, ever, ever call the phone number on the pop up. You won’t be connected to Microsoft. You’ll be connected to a scam call center in India. They’ll try to gain administrative rights to your computer via remote control software that they trick you into installing. Once you do that you are a had lad or lassie.
Ricky Just Lose That Number
If you do find yourself on the phone these are some common scams:
- Norton, Amazon, Paypal, Best Buy, Microsoft etc. sends you an email saying your subscription just got renewed to the tune of several hundred dollars.
- Your SSN was tied to drug smugglers and Officer Dipshit on the phone is trying to help you.
- Your computer network is infected, and hey, they can help.
- Any other crazy thing you can think of.
Just hang up and call your bank to see if there was an actual transaction. Or just hang up.
There Is No I in Teamwork Sez The Internet Scammers
But there is an I in Teamviewer.
If someone calls you on the phone or tricks you into calling them………..NEVER, and I repeat NEVER allow them to connect to your computer via software they have you download such as TeamViewer or AnyDesk. Once you let them connect you are SCREWED. At the least they will lock you out of your computer. At best they will install a RAT (Remote Administration Tool) or key logger and snag all your personal information and passwords and might even watch you via your own webcam.
Amazon, Best Buy, Geek Squad, Norton……….none of these people have any business hooked to your computer. Don’t fall for the “we need to hook you to our secure server” routine.
Log Into Your Bank
They want you to log into your bank account for two reasons. One is that they trick you by making it look like they processed a refund and OVERPAID YOU. Nope. They modified the html of the bank web page after they blackened your screen to make it look that way. They then try to make you repay the overpayment which never actually happened.
Reason number 2 is that they’ll steal your bank login credentials and simply steal all your money. All of it. Every bit.
Banks are fairly sophisticated though these days and might recognize the fraud and freeze the transaction and contact you. It’s easier for scammers to get you to make the withdrawal or money transfer at the bank for them. The internet scammers will then straight up tell you to lie to the bank to “avoid taxes” or some other ridiculous bullshit.
What Not To Do With Internet Scammers
- Never let a stranger or business of any kind connect to your computer
- Never log into your bank account if you feel compromised.
- Call the bank yourself using the number on the back of your card or official website.
- Never Google Search a Phone Number for a business or bank. Top hits are mostly scammer numbers.
- If a guy with an Indian accent says “Hi my name is Steve Williams or Stan Johnson hang up. His name ain’t Steve and he ain’t the Senior Manager at Amazon.
- Never send money via the US Mail. If someone asks you to send money via mail get the address and then call the authorities.
- Never buy gift cards. Official businesses don’t deal in gift cards. And for sure Steve Williams with an Indian Accent who claims to work with the IRS doesn’t need a gift card FOR the IRS
- Don’t call back phone numbers on pop up screens.
This Is The End My Friend
My own mother got scammed. “Microsoft” called her and told her there were hackers in her machine. They then got her to install AnyDesk and took over her computer. When they told her to go buy some gift cards to pay them with she realized (finally) that she was being played. The scammers responded by locking her computer.
Mom was a widow with plenty of money, and plenty of money to lose as well. She simply got a brand new computer which resolved the problem. She no longer trusted that machine even though I convinced her that her genius son could rectify the problem.
A lot of people simply can’t just run out and buy a new computer. Mom was lucky. She was also lucky that her daughter was a banker and changed all of her account numbers and credit cards after the incident.