Surprise! Users Fall for Fake Virus Alerts

02 December 2018 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

The New York Times reported that “one in five recipients actually talks to the fake tech-support centers, and 6 percent ultimately pay the operators to “fix” the nonexistent problem, according to recent consumer surveys by Microsoft.” The November 28, 2018 report entitled “That Virus Alert on Your Computer? Scammers in India May Be Behind It” included these comments:

You know the messages. They pop up on your computer screen with ominous warnings like, “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Call our toll-free number immediately for help.”

Often they look like alerts from Microsoft, Apple or Symantec. Sometimes the warning comes in a phone call.

After the victims contacted the call center, the operator, pretending to be a Microsoft employee, would tell them that their system had been hacked or attacked by a virus. The victims would then be offered a package of services ranging from $99 to $1,000 to fix the problem

Microsoft, whose Windows software runs most personal computers, gets 11,000 or so complaints about the scams every month, …and its internet monitors spot about 150,000 pop-up ads for the services every day. The company’s own tech-support forums, where people can publicly post items, also see a steady stream of posts offering fake tech-support services.

Although American authorities have busted such scams in places like Florida and Ohio, the backbone of the illicit industry is in India — in large part because of the country’s experience running so many of the world’s call centers.

So be careful about Virus Alerts!

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Authors

Related Services

Insights