Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

July 2015
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Happy 4th! Hope all of you are enjoying this summer so far. I know I am looking forward to some beach and barbecue myself!

Last month I spent so much time cleaning up systems infected with fake tech support pop-ups that I almost sent out a mid-month newsletter warning of the dangers and risks. These types of fake pop-up warnings can happen on any device, can be very convincing, and are always a scam, so please read the following article and don't let yourself get conned!

You might have noticed that  I'm sending this letter a few days early. I'm doing that to let you all know that I will be taking a few days off, between July 3rd and 9th. I have pretty good availability the beginning of this week so if you have any current issues please get in touch with me as soon as possible. As always I will continue to be available via email and cell phone.

Have a great holiday, and stay safe out there!

Julie Marto 

508-333-8176 (cell)

P.S. If you are a recent addition to this newsletter be sure to check out my archive of back issues!
Your system is INFECTED, call 1-877-XXX-XXXX!

I spent so much time cleaning up computers with fake tech support infections last month that I decided to make that the focus of this month's newsletter. Everybody is vulnerable  to this type of scam - PC or Mac, tablet or smartphone - so this is an article for everybody to read and understand. The pop-ups can look very authentic and be very convincing. However there is not a single legitimate PC manufacturer, antivirus program, or Internet Service Provider that uses pop-up messages with phone numbers embedded within to warn you about possible infections.  

Am I really infected? 

That's an excellent question, and the answer is - maybe. It all depends on the type of system you have and whether you have actually downloaded malware onto your system.  What I can tell you for sure is that the phone number on the pop-up is the PROBLEM, not the solution. PLEASE do NOT call that number, whatever else you do. If you call the number you will be putting yourself into the hands of professional scam artists who's only goal is to part you from your money! The fake technicians at the other end of the phone line will want to log onto your system to "fix it", and once they have done that all bets are off!

What to do - Smartphones and Tablets

If you see this type of a pop-up on a smart phone or tablet the chances are good that you are not actually infected -  a website you have visited is the problem. The criminals who are trying to get you to call that number have infected a poorly written website with a pop-up ad, and that is what you are seeing. If that's the case then leaving the website might be all you have to do to solve the problem.

However, the ads are often persistent. You might have to restart your device, or clear the browser cache on your device to make the message go away. It's difficult to really infect a smartphone or a tablet, especially iPhones and iPads, but it's not impossible. If you can't make the message go away I can help.

What to do - PCs and Macs

If you see this type of message once on a PC or a Mac, it might only be that you have landed at an infected website. Do NOT click on the message, as clicking on it could actually download an infection. If you know how to end-task on a PC or a Mac do that. However, often the easiest thing to do is to simply shut down your computer by holding the power button down for about 15 seconds. After you restart (you might get a message warning you haven't turned your system off properly, don't worry about that) go about your business. If you don't see any more pop-ups, you are probably okay.

If you continue to see pop-ups after restarting your system, you are most likely infected. Please bring the system to me or to another PC repair specialist to remove the virus - these types of infections can be stubborn, and they often open the door to even more serious problems.
Highlights from my Facebook page

For those of you who don't use Facebook, here are a few articles I chose to feature in the last few months. If you use Facebook but haven't visited my page yet, please do. I post 2-3 times a month there. Hope you enjoy!