Cybersecurity MONDAY

Computer Virus Scams


Kentuckians alone have reported $92,000 in losses from the re-emergence of a computer virus scam, according to the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General.  These computer virus scams are a re-emergence of an old scam and anyone could fall victim.  There are a few different approaches scammers are using, so stay alert!

Pop-up Window Scam

The scam is committed when a victim is using their computer and a pop-up window appears saying there is a virus.  The individual is then directed to get help by calling a 1-800 number.  After dialing the number, the victim is connected to a scammer who pretends to help them. 

In order to “help,” the scammer will request virtual access to the computer, but what the scammer is really doing is collecting computer login credentials so they can steal personal and financial information. 

Microsoft Technician Scam

While this scam is titled “Microsoft Technician Scam,” the scammer could be posing as a representative from one of a variety of reputable computer companies.  The fake technician claiming to “help” rid their computer of the virus will then instruct the individual to buy Google Play Gift Cards to pay for technical assistance.  One individual reported a loss of $2,900 from this type of scam. 

Tips to help you avoid falling victim to a computer virus scam

    • If you suspect your computer is infected with a virus or malware, update your security software and operating system or visit a company you know and trust for assistance.
    • Don’t call a phone number or click on a link from a pop-up message or an unfamiliar email or text message.
    • According to the official Microsoft website, Microsoft error and warning messages never include phone numbers.
    • Don’t trust numbers even if they display a legitimate tech support business name or phone number.
    • Never give a caller remote access to your computer or personal device.
    • Never buy gift cards to provide payment to “tech support” callers.
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