It’s not just unwanted phone calls that lead to IT support scams. If you see a pop-up warning while you’re browsing online, saying that your PC may be infected with viruses or other similarly dire statements, treat it with caution.
Such pop-ups aren’t being generated by your security software – anything that tells you to ring a phone number, pay for a protection plan, or click a ‘scan now’ button is a scam. The message may say your system has viruses on it, but this isn’t based on a real scan of your computer – it’s fear-mongering to make you click or call.
Deal with pop-ups
● Don’t follow any prompts on the pop-up to sign up to a service or call a number. Never get your card out to pay for something prompted by one of these pop-ups.
● Even clicking the X to close the window may not work – it could download malware to your PC. Instead, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc in Windows to see which programs you have open, and fully close your web browser from here.
● Run a scan with your security software to check for viruses. You could install a second tool, such as Malwarebytes Free, to check for any threats that may have been missed in regular scans.
● Learn to recognise the genuine messaging of your installed security software. It will look different to the pop-ups you may see online.
Want to make sure your computer is protected? Read our Which? reviews of the best antivirus software.