NOTICE: Reports of a Tech Support Scam
This information was sent to the IT Security Community via email on May 11, 2015. Members of the Security Community were encouraged to share this information in their units.
In recent weeks, a number of people at U-M have reported seeing alarming pop-ups while using their web browser that say their computer is infected. The pop-ups, which block use of the browser and may include audio, urge the user to call a phone number for support assistance. The number reaches a person who offers to fix the problem for a fee but who hijacks the computer in the process. (See Tech Support Scam Example.)
This is not a new scam, but we are seeing an increase in reports of it. Would you please warn the people you work with to be wary of this? Below is information you can share.
If your web browser redirects you to a suspicious page with alarming pop-ups, do not call the number on the pop-up. Instead, close or quit your browser. Click the X, close the window, or close the browser entirely. If that does not work, you may need to force your browser to quit.
To force quit on a Mac, click the Apple icon and select Force Quit from the drop down menu. In the window that opens, select your web browser, then click Force Quit. To force quit on a PC, open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del and clicking Start Task Manager. In the window that opens, select your web browser from the Applications tab, then click End Task.
If the pop-up reappears after you reopen your browser, additional steps to protect your computer may be needed.
- Conversation With a Tech Support Scammer (Zeltser, 4/27/15)
- FTC cracks down on tech support scams (FTC, 11/19/14)
- New Twist to the Telephone Tech Support Scam (FBI, 11/13/14)
- PSA: Tech Support Scams Pop-Ups on the Rise (Malwarebytes Unpacked, 11/17/14)
- Security Tip (ST04-014): Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks (CERT, updated Feb. 2013)
- Tech Support Scams – Help & Resource Page ( MalwareBytes, 10/4/13)