Safeguarding Our Customers

Short Tutorial/FAQ – What Is Scareware And How Can I Avoid It?

Question: I know scareware is something bad that can happen on my computer, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. What is scareware, and how can I prevent it?

Download Graphics to View Answer: Scareware is a form of malware (malicious software) that cyber criminals can install on your system to make you think something bad is happening and that you need to take a specific action (which benefits the criminal) to make it stop.

For example, you might get a message on your screen warning you that your credit rating has been compromised, and you need to pay a "service" to have it restored. Or that there is something wrong with your computer and you need to pay a "technician" to have it fixed. These "services" or "technicians" will then charge you money to "fix" a problem that was never really there.

If you see such an alert on your computer, you may be able to remove the malware by running a virus scan with your security application. If the problem is in progress, try shutting down your browser; but don't use the X to do this – instead press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to get your task manager up and do it from there. Or shut off your computer and restart it, but don't resume your previous browser session.

Of course, the best prevention is avoiding the malware altogether. To do this, ensure that you have active, current anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall.

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