Technology scams becoming more numerous and creative

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Scammers play on growing fears of hacking and cyber threats

Scammers increasingly exploit your computer to rip you off. The latest gambit is to convince you that your computer has a technical problem.

Ironically, if you fall for these scams, it most definitely will have one.

One of the latest schemes revolves around the popular Google Chrome browser. When a user goes to a compromised site, he or she will see a pop-up informing them of a glitch. Specifically, it says "The HoeflerText font wasn't found."

The pop-up then provides a link where the supposedly missing font can be downloaded. Only the link is really connected to malware, which is downloaded onto your device. Now, your computer really does have a problem.

If you've already been infected with this malware, the Malware Tips blog has advice for removing it.

Tech support scam

Another scam exploiting your computer is the tech support scam, which has been around for a while. That's when someone calls you up, or sends an email, claiming to be from "tech support" and has noticed your computer has been infected with a virus.

There are many variations as to what happens next, but Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has recently been on alert. She's filed a grievance against one company, Fast Fix 123, accusing it of operating a tech support scam.

“This scam was designed to trick consumers, some of them seniors, into believing their computers were severely compromised and scare them into buying unnecessary protection software,” Bondi said.

Bondi is asking a judge to stop the alleged scam and require the company to compensate victims.

Legitimate-looking warning

Bondi says computer users would see a pop-up window that appeared to be a legitimate warning from an operating system or web browser. The warning advised users their machines were at risk and instructed consumers to call a toll-free number for help.

Bondi says the sales agents on the other end of the line pitched expensive security services the consumers didn't need.

These scams are easily avoided if you'll remember that no IT professional will be able to randomly detect issues with your computer unless he or she has carefully examined it. It can't be done remotely unless you have given them access to your computer.

Pop-ups that say you need to download a particular font or program update should also be viewed with a high degree of suspicion.

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