You know that feeling you get when you know someone is trying to scam you? Someone who is trying to trick you into stealing your money through some of kind of phone or mail scam? That sense of heightened awareness sets you on the edge of your seat as you start to keenly listen and the
suspicion starts to build. Whenever I see a popup message implying my computer is infected, I feel just like that. Someone is trying to trick me, maliciously. They are my enemy and I don't even know them.
Unfortunately, without some tools for you to identify these threats, it's difficult to tell. That message might really appear to be legitimate, and we always want to do the right thing. If someone says we have a problem, we want to fix it and do so in the fastest way possible.
This is where our good nature is taken advantage of. We assume some trust over the websites we're viewing - after all, not many of us have our own websites or know how to do it. Those who do must know what they're doing, right? Maybe we just browsed a perfectly legitimate site before we saw the pop-up, so we might easily assume it's a message from this trusted source of information, when in fact it's some advertising on that legitimate site that has been compromised.
Here's some tips to check for scams and an example of an actual scam site.
- Look at the address bar to see the actual website address. Is it a legitimate domain (that's the first part of the address like http://www.stewartandson.com)? Is it something you've been to before?
- Does the page show the name of the company providing the warning? Surely they'd want you to know who is trying to help?
- They use general terms, like "You're running Windows" to make you think they know something about you. Over 80% of the computers on the web run Windows.
- They appear to use some legitimate information about you to imply authenticity. It is very easy to know who your internet service provider is, the city you are in, your browser version, maybe even your exact version of Windows. This information isn't hard to know.
- They include an "easy" way to fix things. "Call us", "Fast repair", "Click here for free removal", and other "call to action" terms to bait you.
- Impersonation. They might say they're your bank, the FBI, the IRS, or even your employer. These should ALL be suspect - internet popups are not the method by which you will be notified of something serious.
Wade Stewart is the Managing Member of Stewart and Son Computer Services, LLC in University Place, WA and serves as a trusted partner to many local small and medium sized businesses.
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Content Copyright Wade Stewart (C) 2015
Labels: advocacy, computer, customer service, disaster recovery, IT, managed services, security, small business, tips