Pop-up scam continues to plague computer users

Pop-up scam continues to plague computer users

By Greg Collier

It was just a little over a week ago that we were discussing the pop-up scam that affects computer users. This is where someone is using their computer when all of a sudden their screen is overtaken by a pop-up message that states the computer they’re using has gotten a virus. Typically, these pop-ups claim to be from a large tech company, most commonly they claim to be from Microsoft. These pop-ups also contain what appears to be a customer service number that the user is supposed to call to get their computer working again.

These phone numbers do not go to Microsoft. Instead, they go to a group of scammers who are looking to extort money from the computer user. More often than not, the user is instructed to give remote access to the phony technician. This allows the scammers to go through the personal files stored on the computer. The scammers will then come up with some reason that the computer user has to pay them money, usually through non-recoverable means like cryptocurrency.

The reason we’re bringing up the pop-up scam so soon is that it seems to be on a meteoric rise. Just today, we found several instances of it happening across the country where victims have lost thousands of dollars. For example, a man from Lincoln, Nebraska, paid $4000 in gift cards to scammers. In the Kansas City Metro Area, two people ended up losing $30,000 total to scammers who made their victims pay through Bitcoin kiosks. In the Green Bay-area of Wisconsin, residents there lost a total of $78,000 to scammers who gained access to their victims’ bank accounts and converted the money to Bitcoin. And in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburbs, a man lost $18,000 to scammers who also had him pay at a Bitcoin ATM. Those are all the stories about this scam that we found in one day. Who knows how many others have happened without being reported?

If anyone you don’t personally know asks for remote access to your computer, they’re almost definitely a scammer. Also, keep in mind that companies like Microsoft hardly ever reach out to consumers in that way.