How to spot online scareware scams
Authored by a Symantec employee
Today’s cybercriminals are more creative than ever, using continually-evolving techniques to worm their way into the computers (and wallets) of unsuspecting victims around the globe. One of the sneakiest methods currently used by cybercriminals is scareware, a tactic that preys upon our fears to make us take action, which ultimately ends up compromising our own security.
Safety for every device.
Security is no longer a one-machine affair. You need a security suite that helps protect all your devices – your Windows PC, Mac, Android smartphone or your iPad.
Try for 30 days before you buy with Norton Security Deluxe – helps protect up to 5 of your devices for one low price.
Here are some tips to help you spot scareware and avoid falling victim to it.
What are the warning signs?
The report is designed to help lenders assess whether you are a reliable person to lend to. The information comes from some public information, such as court judgments and the electoral roll information, along with credit history information to give a snapshot into your ability to repay previous loans.
As a person’s credit report can influence major aspects of a person’s life including the ability to buy a home, there are certain rights each individual has in regards to their report.
Why do they do it?
When such a pop-up or alert appears on your screen, you will often be asked to install software, accept the recommended updates, or remove detected viruses or spyware. Of course, none of these threats are true, however if you do click through, rogue security software will be downloaded onto your computer. Exaggerated alerts such as “Warning! Your computer is at risk! Download this now!” are common.
If this bogus software is downloaded onto your computer, a variety of outcomes could occur. A “false” security check may be run, telling you that you have a virus and subsequently scare you into paying for more fake products. Not only does this trick you into spending money, but also gives you a faux sense of security since you are not actually being protected from the many cyber threats out there today.
By downloading this fake software, you are also sharing your sensitive credit card information with a criminal enterprise, which can subsequently be used to gain access to your accounts or be passed on to someone who may be looking to steal your identity.
In the worst case scenario, you could find yourself a victim of extortion. This particularly devious scam software will allow the creator to hijack your computer or lock up your personal information. Your PC is then held for ransom with demands for payment being made in order for you to regain access to your computer.
What should you do?
We advise you to continue using the Internet but refrain from disclosing any personal information. If you see a pop-up ad or receive a message similar to those mentioned above, avoid clicking the ‘download’ button at all costs. Any message which appears on your screen screaming dire warnings of imminent doom if you do not download a product immediately is more than likely to be a scam.
However, do not be put off purchasing and downloading antivirus software and other Internet security software from well-known, reputable companies such as Norton. By doing so, you will be kept alert and protected if you do happen to accidentally download a malicious program.
In short, anything which causes you to panic is likely to be scareware. Use your common sense, avoid downloading anything from a company you do not trust or have not researched and protect yourself with programs from respected Internet security companies.
Isn't it time to upgrade your security?
Upgrading to new devices and software can often mean downgrading your privacy and security. It’s time to take your security seriously. Download the full version of Norton Security Deluxe free for 30 days, and test-drive it on up to 5 of your devices – PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets.
Create an account today and be up and running in minutes.
Disclaimers and references:
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.
Copyright © 2019 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, Norton by Symantec, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Google Chrome and Android are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc. Microsoft and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The Android robot is reproduced and/or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other company names and product names are registered trademarks or trademarks of each company.