Is That Computer Virus Actually Just a Scam?
Every year, people around the world fall victim to scams. These scams take numerous forms, but among the most interesting and most pervasive are virus scams.
A virus scam purports to infect your computer and hold it hostage, claiming that you have to do something specific to fix your computer. More often than not, these powerless scams are merely designed to scare you into handing over money.
Read on to learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions about virus scams:
What Are the Most Common Virus Scams?
There are two common virus scams: blackmail scams and tech support scams.
In the former, the virus infects your computer and shows information about the scammer’s demands on the screen. Because the virus has access to your computer files, it may show information such as your browsing history and full name, and will usually threaten to release incriminating information unless the demands are met. These demands are almost always monetary, usually requiring that you send the money using an untraceable method.
Tech support scams play less on fear, and more on your trust of experts. The virus will take over your computer, but this time, it’ll show a tech support number to call. If you call that number, you’ll be connected to the scammers who are trying to get your information. The tech support person may ask for remote access to your computer to “fix” the virus. Oftentimes, the scammer will install more software to glean even more information. Then, the scammer might ask you to pay for the services with a similarly untraceable method.
Are These Viruses Going to Hurt Me?
It’s true that sometimes tech support or blackmail viruses do have the power to do what they’re claiming. If you did install and run a sketchy online program that turned out to be a virus, it has direct access to your computer and can easily get a lot of information from it.
However, creating those viruses can be a lot of work and take a lot of time. If a scammer can make you believe that a virus is powerful, he or she can reap the benefits without having to put in the work.
How Do I Get Rid of the Viruses?
First off, don’t make any rash decisions out of fear. Scammers are hoping that you’ll do what they say without thinking about it too hard. Most of the time, if you decide to take a step back and think about what a scammer is asking you to do, that scammer’s entire money-making scheme will fall apart quickly.
Your best bet is going to be to take your computer to an actual expert. Mac owners can visit an Apple store nearby, while PC owners can usually visit an electronics store. By visiting an in-person store that you know and trust, you can be sure that your information isn’t falling into the wrong hands. Even better, you’re probably not the first person they’ve seen with this issue, which means they’re more likely to be able to fix it quick.
How Will a People Search Engine Help Me Avoid Tech Support Scams?
Of course, your first step when faced with these scams should be to avoid calling the listed number. However, reading about something and actually confronting it are two very different things. If your computer suddenly shows a blue screen with a threatening message on it, you may forget about these important tips and rush to call. That’s why PeopleFinders is such a valuable resource.
With PeopleFinders, you don’t have to remember to avoid calling shady numbers. Build an important habit: check every number before you call, using the PeopleFinders reverse phone lookup. Even if you’re panicking about your computer, taking just a few seconds to look up the number will calm you down, and help remind you of the possible dangers associated with it.
Tech support and blackmail virus scams are still common. But more people now are able to avoid them due to a growing understanding of how computer scams work.
However, people are still taken in sometimes. That’s why the reverse phone lookup tool at PeopleFinders can be so helpful. Not only can it help you to put things in perspective, it just may stop a scammer right in their tracks.
Image attribution: artiemedvedev – stock.adobe.comTags: Online Safety, Scammer
Categorized in: Scams