Frequently Asked Question

>> POP-UP Scam: I got a pop-up on my screen while surfing the internet. It says my computer is infected and to call Microsoft immediately and gives a phone number to call. What should I do?!
Last Updated 4 years ago

DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER PROVIDED!!! Call a computer service provider that you trust for support.  If you do not have a provider that you work with, feel free to contact Divens Custom Data LLC or a nationwide service provided by the big-box office supply or electronics store.  This is NOT usually a symptom of an infection.  Microsoft does not pop up a phone number to call when notifying you of a legitimate infection.

This is a scare tactic to lure you to call the phone number provided.  Once you call, a technician will convince you to remotely log into your computer to diagnose the problem.  Once in, they can install malicious remote control programs, scan for stored passwords, or worse.  They usually ask for anywhere between $200-$300 dollars to clean up your problem.  

At that point, many people say no and call their IT guy.  By that time, it is probably too late.  The damage is done.  Whatever they needed to install, is installed.  They can now steal the information they need to compromise your accounts or identity.

What should you do if you called them?  Immediately disconnect your computer from the internet.  This may mean disabling the wireless connection as well as removing any hard-wired network wires.  If you are not sure how to do that, turn off the computer and unplug it.  Then have it scanned by a qualified technician.

If I didn't call the number, how do I get rid of it?  This is usually just an annoying pop-up that is meant to look like your antivirus system notifying you of an infection.  Simply closing the browser may stop the issue.  However, they make it hard to close the browser.  If so, simply hold down the ALT button and press the F4 key repeatedly until it closes.  

If ALT+F4 does not work, you may have to end the program through the Task Manager.  Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and a menu will come up.  Choose Task Manager.  When the Task Manager opens, select any entry that refers to an internet browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and click the End Task button.  Do this for every entry in the list.  If you do not see any entries like that, you may have to select the Details tab and look for those type entries in the long list of open processes.  Don't be afraid of stopping the wrong one, if you do, the computer may simply reboot. If it reboots and the problem persists, repeat the process.  If you cannot get it to stop, call your IT service provider.

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