Most of us have seen computer scams that involve phishing emails or pop-up ads, begging us to click on them and download malware or some other nefarious program.
But the newest is a scam that talks to you in a scary robotic voice. And it may tell you that your computer has downloaded pornography, which could results in 3 years in Federal prison.
If you don't know what to do, it can cost you hundreds of dollars to make it go away.
Popup screen takes over PC
Imagine turning on your computer, typing in a website, then finding a giant pop up ad on your screen claiming to be a "critical alert" from Microsoft.
But this time, if you have your speakers on, you wil also hear a Frankenstein-like robotic voice saying "your computer has alerted us that it is affected with a virus and spyware." (Play the video above to hear the voice)
The box and voice may pop up if you misspell a popular website like Google, Speedtest, etc.
John Andrea of Mobile Technology Solutions in West Chester, Ohio says people are calling him in a panic, after they called the number on the screen.
"That's when they get a live person that can walk them through the rest of the scam and take their money." He has heard from people who have paid hundreds of dollars to make the popup go away.
Andrea says it is the latest version of what's called the "Microsoft scam," the "Windows Scam," or the "Tech support scam."
It is actually adware, a popup ad that travels into your PC when you visit questionable sites, or misspell a legitimate site's name.
Thousands fall for it
Earlier this year, I spoke with Jennifer Janzen after she fell for it. She told me a man claiming to be with Microsoft called her, saying that a routine scan found a virus in her computer.
"So I let them go into my computer, where they could do anything inside it," she said. He told her they could remove the virus, if she paid him $150. She did.
Whats so frightening about this newest "taking" tech scam is that it makes a threat that your personal information held on the computer will be released unless you call them immediately.
Andrea played a recording of the robotic voice, as it said "this virus is sending your credit card details, Facebook login, and personal emails to hackers remotely."
But that's just a scare tactic, Andrea explains.
"The entire time your computer doesn't have a problem at all. They're just telling you it has a problem."
Andrea says Microsoft will never call you, or lock up your computer. It does not monitor your PC, as that would be illegal spying, he says.
How to protect yourself
If you get this frightening popup, he says:
- Try to "X" out of the popup box.
- If that doesn't work, hit the Control-Alt-Delete buttons, go into your Task Manager, and close out all running programs.
- Too complicated? Just hit the power button, and "hard shut down" your computer.
Whatever you do, don't follow the instructions of the Frankenstein voice, so you don't waste your money.
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