Don’t fall for fake security pop-ups–stay calm and close the tab

Ever browsing and suddenly see a scary pop-up warning about viruses or compromised systems? Be aware, these are likely scams, not real security alerts. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Beware of Scare Tactics: Fake security pop-ups often use scare tactics like flashing red text or warnings of immediate threats. Don’t panic – these are designed to pressure you into clicking.
  • Free Antivirus? No Thanks: These pop-ups often advertise “free” antivirus software. Real security software rarely comes from random website ads.
  • Ignoring is Winning: The safest way to deal with these fake alerts is simply to ignore them. Don’t click any links or call any numbers in the pop-up.

How to Spot a Fake Security Pop-Up:

  • Generic Messages: Real security warnings are specific to your device or software. Generic warnings about “infected devices” are a red flag.
  • Pressure to Act Now: Scammers want you to react quickly without thinking. Real security alerts offer clear instructions, not time pressure.
  • Suspicious Links and Numbers: Don’t click on any links or call any numbers in a pop-up window. These could lead to malware or connect you to scammers.

What to Do if You See a Fake Pop-Up:

  • Close the Tab: The safest option is to close the browser tab where the pop-up appeared. Most browsers allow you to close the tab without affecting other windows. Restart if needed.
  • Run a Scan: If you’re worried about malware, run a scan with your trusted antivirus software. This can give you peace of mind.
  • Report the Scam: Some browsers allow you to report suspicious websites. Consider reporting the website that displayed the fake pop-up.

Real security software won’t bombard you with scare tactics. If you see a suspicious pop-up, stay calm, ignore it, and take steps to protect your device.