When it comes to antivirus protection, you need to stick with known and tested products. If you get an offer for a free antivirus scan and you don’t recognize the product, it may well be a scam. Some rogue security utilities are Trojans — they pretend to be useful, but secretly steal your data.
Others ape real security software and scare you into paying money to clean up problems that don’t really exist. For that reason, they are often called scareware. If a security program that you never installed pops up with a dire warning, that’s a clue that you’ve been scammed.
If it’s really hard to close the program or get out of the registration process, there’s another clue. The biggest giveaway is often their incredibly fast virus scanning. Since there’s no real scanning going on, the programmers can make it as fast as they want. Writing a ransomware program is tough. But writing fake ransomware is a snap, by comparison. And the ransomware protection utilities that face down the real thing don’t bother with the fakes.
The typical fake ransomware webpage has a big, scary warning that you are in trouble. It demands Fraudsters don’t just create fake programs to scare you into paying for non-existent malware clean-up.
Some of them call you on the phone, warning that your computer is spewing viruses, or that your personal data may have been compromised. They may claim to be from Microsoft. And they want you to pay via credit card to have them remote-control your computer and fix the problem.
Another scam that’s going around arrives as a threatening email. The sender claims to have recorded your visits to unsavoury web locations, then threatens to make the recordings public unless you pay up. The ransom tends to be steep.
Before you consider paying money for any security program, check for reviews on reputable sites. Watch out for sites with fake reviews set up by the rogues themselves. Armed with the information, you can make an informed choice, free of scareware worries.