How To Identify And Handle Scareware Pop-ups


Jared Stemeye is a Help Desk Technician at Tech Experts.

Let’s say you’re reading the latest news articles on a webpage you visit regularly. In an instant, a new browser window flashes onto your screen, blinking with some sort of notice, a warning of virus infections, a legitimate looking logo, and a phone number to call.

Some of these even employ audio statements such as, “Your PC is infected. If you close this window you will lose all information stored on your hard drive.”

These tactics combined do a very good job of eliciting emotions of fear and anxiousness from their victims.

However, with the proper knowledge to identify the fraudulent practices of these groups, along with the proper steps to handle such occurrences, you will be able to avoid the hardship many others have encountered.

The first thing you should know is that it is quite simple for anyone to attach the Microsoft, or any name brand anti-virus’ insignia onto the page to make it appear convincingly genuine. The ‘official’ logos you see on these pop-ups are not legitimate, though it is very easy to think that they are.

The second, and probably the most important, thing to know is to never – under any circumstances – call the phone number provided by the pop-up.

The disreputable individuals on the other end of the phone are not meant to help you. Like the pop-ups, they too are proficient at inducing anxiety among their victims, urging those who call to allow permission for remote access to the targeted computer.

Once someone has access to your desktop, they have access to all your locally stored files and can make changes to them as well as plant malware or spyware.

Never allow remote access to your computer unless you, without any doubt, know who it is you’re allowing access.

Now, what you should do next? First, attempt to close the window as you would with any other window by clicking the X in the top right corner.

In many cases, a dialogue box will appear at the top of the screen, providing more anxiety-inducing phrases to make you think your actions are incorrect. Rest assured you are on your way to ridding yourself of the pop-up.

Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox have an opportunity to prevent these boxes from reappearing after you exit out of them. In the pop-up box, click the check field next to the “prevent additional dialogues” option and click OK.

If the pop-up window has yet to close, retry exiting out of the window. No additional dialogue boxes should appear at this point, allowing you to regain control of your computer.

If the pop-up window does not close after these steps or if the issue persists after a short period, contact your trusted IT team to remove the issue.

Under any circumstance, remember, these pop-ups are not viruses themselves and, if you follow the advice given in this article, they will cause no harm to your computer.

However, it is still best practice to run a full virus scan if this does occur to ensure you are unaffected.