How Tech-Scammers Made More Than $10 Million in Pop-Up Scams. Are You Taking the Right Security Precautions?

As of September 18th, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrests of two criminals who had scammed individuals out of more than $10 million using tech-support scams and fraud! Keep reading to learn more about these scams.

Police arrested Romana Levyna and Ariful Haque, charging both with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Along with the scammer bust in India back in October 2018, it seems like authorities are being more vigilant about apprehending tech scammers, but even then, you can never be too careful.

Scammers use fake pop-ups and phone calls to get access to your funds

The scammers were able to reach individuals through computer pop-ups and fake phone calls, leading individuals to believe that their computers were loaded with malware – through these tactics, they were able to cheat people out of thousands of dollars under the guise of phony computer repair. 

The pop-ups involved urgent messages which required immediate attention – warnings of “complete data loss” and “serious system damage” were quite common, with the only solution being to call the tech support number provided in the pop-up.

An Official Logo May Not Be As Legitimate As You’d Think

Often times, these pop-ups were disguised under official corporate logos: Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dell, and HP, are all examples of the types of companies the scammers pretend to be! Be wary, these companies will never give you a call out of the blue. 

How To Protect Yourself Against Potential Scams

In the end, the duo scammed nearly 7500 victims, most of whom were elderly. Essentially, the scammers took advantage of people who lacked the technological know-how and were inevitably able to exploit the trust of people who were simply trying to protect their computer! 

Though the two responsible for these scams have since been apprehended, it’s always in your best interest to be up-to-date regarding the different tactics that scammers have been using recently – here are some tips to keep yourself protected!

Don’t Trust Random Calls

Official companies will never call you regarding an issue with your computer. Even if the caller ID seems legitimate, there are always ways to fabricate your caller ID. If you receive a call like this, simply hang up.

Ignore The Pop-Up Messages

Even if the pop-up seems pretty menacing, the best option is to simply ignore it. Sometimes your own security software may give you a pop-up, but legitimate software will never ask you to call them to solve the problem.

If you are concerned with your computer, you can always contact your security company by looking up their number online!

If you get one of these pop ups you can end it via the “Task Manager” or simply restart your computer.

Don’t Provide Any Personal Information Or Allow Access To Your Computer

Passwords, usernames, credit card numbers and access to your computer- keep all of this to yourself. Scammers can use this to get access to your accounts and can pose a threat to your safety!

Scammers will also try to gain remote access to your computer, which will ultimately open the door for malware and more scams.

Contact Your Credit Card Company

If you’ve already provided a scammer with your credit card information, you should immediately contact your provider and ask to reverse any charges. Keep track of your bank statements for any suspicious charges, the scams take many unassuming disguises.

Keep Up-To-Date With Your Security

By downloading a legitimate security software for your computer, you can add an extra layer of protection to you and your computer. That way, in the case that a threat is downloaded on your computer, your security software will recognize it and notify you. McAfee is a great virus protection program – you’ll be able to get a pretty sweet deal because you’re a FixMeStick customer!

FixMeTip: run FixMeStick once a month to deep clean your computer and check for any hidden viruses and malware.

31 comments

  1. Anonymous - Reply

    thats right i was getting those pop ups i turned my computer off and back on and it was ok

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi there, that’s great to see! Shutting down your computer is one way to close your internet browser and get rid of these popups.

  2. Anonymous - Reply

    Linda, i tried to run fix me stick earlier and it ran the 1st three programs and when got to # 4(installing malware directions) froze up, i waited 30 min + and still was frozen. i called fix me stick and msg. so i sent text explaining situation and my phone # got no reply- and now got this e-mail from you????? Please reply and help.
    Dave

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Dave, you didn’t leave your email or your last name in this comment so I was unable to locate your account to assist you with this issue. Could you make sure to send us an email to support@fixmestick.com? Alternatively, you can reply to the email you received from me and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours! Thanks!

  3. Bruce - Reply

    It’s time our government and corporate America start getting serious about these worthless scammers. I hope our government works with the foreign governments to get these scum. Unfortunately it’s probably impossible to work with the two major offenders that being Russia and China. Companies need also to be proactive and not reactive protecting their customers. It seems that a lot of companies and corporate America seem to think it won’t happen to them then it happens and it’s too late to stop the disaster.
    It would be nice to companies to use public media to educate the people, especially the elderly about scams. I know that AARP does have articles about this issue but the word needs to get out more to the public

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Bruce, thanks for reading our blog! We do need to educate the public more about what’s going on behind these scams which is what we try to do here on our FixMeStick blog. Hopefully, the government will step in and play a greater role over time as well, just like in this recent arrest of call scammers in India.

  4. DENNIS IGOE - Reply

    I GOT THE MICROSOFT SCAM VIA THE PHONE. THE PHONE SHOWED MY NAME AND PHONE NUMBER. SOME OF THESE SCAMMERS ARE NOT TOO SMART.

  5. Barbara Howlett - Reply

    The pop up I got would not let you shut down. I used fix me stick and they found “ no issues”. I wonder if it was because I ran an unsupported browser internet explorer. Pretty scary. Now I only use Edge

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Barbara, FixMeStick can only remove viruses that are on your computer, and some popups don’t stay on your computer so they never get removed. If you require assistance getting rid of this popup, do send us an email to support@fixmestick.com and we’ll be able to assist you!

  6. Anonymous - Reply

    The one pop up I had really froze my computer down I couldn’t even turn it off then I put in my fix me stick and it went away.

  7. Julia Williams - Reply

    Kudos and plaudits to you on recognizing and realizing such a scam. Under NO circumstances will I ever, ever, ever give out personal information to a website or telephone number I do not recognize.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Stephanie - Reply

    They got me recently too. He posed as a Verizon tech. The “Verizon” name came over my call ID. I thought I was smart by hanging up and calling them back and sure enough I got a Verizon answering machine. They had some of my identifying information to show how legit they were. The gave me their Verizon ID number, all this to come across as legit. I gave them access to my computer (I know. I know) I got suspicious and called Verizon while they were “fixing” my computer and saw them go to Shop.com and Amazon while I was on the phone. Verizon did not verify them of course and I was able to reverse the two purchases they did make, cancel all of my credit cards, changed all passwords and took my laptop to an IT person I knew to get it clean/scrubbed. How could I be so dumb as to take an unsolicited call telling ME something was wrong with MY computer. I got through it and now I’m no high alert.

  9. Rudy - Reply

    I was getting these MS msgs for the past couple years, never did what was asked and not only shut down my computer I turned off the power to my computer. Also, I know calling MS is not much good, if any, I have called, msg, email, whatever and never a response. Once calling I got a msg they will call me back, still waiting for 18 months.

  10. Rose M Worley - Reply

    Thanks for all of the info. I have seen those pop ups in the past, fortunately for me I was able to shut them out and took to Best Buy Web protection for them to check out my computer, Lesson learned. I am pleased that you send reminders to my e-mail to run fix me stick. If only our hodies could be fixed just as quickly, All Virus removal all good health returned in a flash. What do you think about that? Somewhere in the future? OR Would we be too much like robots? Just a thought Ha. Later Gators, Rose

  11. David Holmes - Reply

    Hi Linda,
    How much junk can a fix me stick hold? I use my fix me stick once a month and was wondering long it will be good for.
    Thank you
    Dave

  12. Vicki Walshire - Reply

    Please continue with these informative scam and security updates! It is so easy to get complacent and forgetful… these reminders are useful to hold our attentions. I’ve had some close calls.

    • Linda - Reply

      Thanks for reading our blog, Vicki! And of course, we update our blog every week so be sure to come back for the latest security news and updates.

  13. Pat Green - Reply

    This just happened to me today. The hacker took over my computer and downloaded 2 programs. He got into my email. And open a target.com account and tried to buy target gift cards He was only charging me 3.19 to fix my computer and I gave him a credit card. But I cancelled it immediately. Should I stop using that email account and open up another one. Help please

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Pat, sorry to see this. Your email should be safe but I would make sure to change the password to your email account. If the hacker also took down your credit card payment details, definitely make sure you change your credit card to a new one.

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Virginia, it looks like we’ve already followed-up with you about this issue when you emailed us earlier today. If you require further assistance with this, do reply to the email we sent you or email us again at support@fixmestick.com.

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