Browser Tech Support Pop-up Scam: What to Do
If you have been browsing the internet recently, you may have been treated to a pop-up similar to the image above. This is typically called a tech support pop-up scam and usually contains some kind of ominous message warning you of a virus or malware infection on your computer and a “tech support” number to call for help. This is also sometimes accompanied by an annoying alarm and voice with the same message. You might also find that your web browser is unresponsive to anywhere you click leaving you with no way to close the pop-up. Don’t Panic, there is a solution:
First, NEVER CALL THE PHONE NUMBER shown on-screen. This is a scam and those behind the scam have only malicious intentions. Instead, press the ctrl, alt and del keys on your keyboard at the same time and choose “Task Manager”. This should open the task manager window. If you are using Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, the task manager should look like this:
Find your browser name (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox etc.) in the list, select it and click on “End Task”. This should close the browser and give you back full control of your computer.
If pressing the ctrl, alt, and del keys doesn’t work, you can press and hold the power button on your computer until it powers off, wait ~10 seconds and then power it on again. WARNING: BEFORE YOU TRY THIS, please be aware that any data that you are currently working on will be lost if you haven’t backed it up. Also, I don’t recommend using this method as the regular way to shut down your computer, but doing this once shouldn’t cause any permanent damage. While your computer is restarting you might see the following message :
Use your arrow keys to select “Start Windows Normally” and press Enter. After your computer has finished starting, it should function normally. If you open your browser you may be asked to restore your previous session. DO NOT agree to this, instead choose to start a new session if possible. You might also want to delete your browser cache (history and temporary files). You can do this from your browser’s options window. Finally, make sure to run a full scan with your Antivirus.