'Scareware' making a comeback on your computer

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 6:30 PM

The page looks real deal, but it's not. It's a scam known as “scareware.” And the bad guys have found a modern way to make it popular again.

“You can see it looks like real anti-virus software from a legitimate company, in this case, it's coming from my social network,” said Tim Rains from Microsoft.

Rains tells me that the scam starts with emails containing links that appear to be from popular social media sites.

 “When I click this link, it doesn't actually take me to my social network or my inbox. It takes me to a different site. And that different site is going to try to download malware onto my system,” said Rains.

That malware will slow your computer down and send you pop-ups with messages to scare you into emptying your wallet.

“Your computer is infected or it has a bunch of security vulnerabilities, just enter your credit card number here to get rid of the infection,” said Rains.

And once you give the fraudsters your information, the cycle begins.

“They'll send the credit card information off to the people doing the attack.  It will also look for personal information on the system, game keys, any kind of information that they can actually sell or trade to criminals online,” Rains said.

This scam is so successful because people continue to fall for it.  So don't click on links from unknown senders. And make sure to guard your computer, much like you would your house.

“Running a firewall is just like locking your doors to make sure people can't come in,” said Rains. “Running anti-virus software, that's just like running an alarm system”.

If you're going to have a computer, anti-virus software is a necessity, but that doesn't mean you have to pay a ton for it.  Check out Microsoft's website. They offer free downloads and malware scans.
 

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