Pop up messages claiming that you have a virus and you are in need of anti-virus software may, ironically, actually contain a virus that could harm your computer, cause costly repairs or, even worse, lead to identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that the scareware scam has many variations, but there are some telltale signs. For example:
You may get ads that promise to “delete viruses or spyware,” “protect privacy,” “improve computer function,” “remove harmful files,” or “clean your registry;”
You may get “alerts” about “malicious software” or “illegal pornography on your computer;”
You may be invited to download free software for a security scan or to improve your system;
You could get pop-ups that claim your security software is out-of-date and your computer is in immediate danger;
You may suddenly encounter an unfamiliar website that claims to have performed a security scan and prompts you to download new software.
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