The World Wide Web is still the Wild Wild West for many people. Constantly changing technology is great for business productivity but it can be confusing to many users and discerning what is legitimate information on the web and what is fake news designed to trick people can be difficult.
A common trick used by hackers and malware is to put ads or messages onto web pages informing users that they are infected and are to call a number or visit a website immediately to get cleaned and protected. These messages look urgent!, legit, and even have correct spelling most of the time lending to their “credibility”.
If you see one of these messages you know you are either infected or you are on a website that has been hacked or is untrusted. While you do need to take immediate action, you DO NOT need to call the number posted or visit their website.
What to do if a website tells you that you are infected with a virus?
- Close your web browser. Now! Do not call the number or visit the suggested page.
- If they call you, hang up. Legit companies, as sad as it sounds, will not call or proactively help you in person. Only hard working hackers and thieves will make that call. Admire the work ethic if you must; but they are out to get you.
- Know what anti-virus you have installed and verify it is working and updated. If it isn’t active or updated, that may indicate a problem or infection. Get it working and run a full scan.
- Try some free scanners like Malwarebytes.
- Reboot. Yes, the standard IT answer . . . but it works a lot of the time.
After you have verified that your anti-virus is working properly and your scans say you are clear, try the web again and hopefully you aren’t getting infection warnings again. If the warnings are confined to a single website, it is possible THAT SITE is hacked or infected and so you should avoid it.
But, if you continue to get warnings about your computer being infected, then it is time to look for professional help. They won’t find you. You will need to go local and find them. Use a search engine to find a good local company to help you out.
More information on computer virus scams
Looking for more information? Take a look at this FTC Tech Support Scams page.