A reader had this to say in response to my warning about a noisy pop-up ad scam that blasts a frightening audio countdown demanding that you call tech support. “Your warning today of the noisy virus is a bad one. It popped up on my computer. I quickly hit the manual power button! Unplugged the computer from the wall for five minutes. It must have dumped the program as the computer rebooted fine. No more problems! Hope this method will help someone else.”
I wanted to make a couple of things clear about this scam. It’s not a virus or a program of any kind. Just an incredibly annoying pop-up ad. A pop-up ad is one that opens in a new window and can sometimes take up your whole screen. In this case, all you really need to do to get rid of it is close your browser. If you can, hit the x in the top right corner of the browser. If the pop-up ad is blocking it, press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys to open Task Manager. Then select the browser and choose “End task.”
If that doesn’t work, you could choose to shut down the PC by selecting the shutdown options from your start menu. Just pressing the power button to shut down a PC is always the very last option and should be saved for when the PC is completely locked up.
Shutting down your PC this way can sometimes cause bits of data to become corrupted and put junk in your registry. Avoid it if you possibly can. It’s important when things like this pop-up scam happen not to panic. One panicked reaction might be to call the number for the fake tech support. Another could be to yank the power cord out of the wall or immediately, push the power button. Take a breath and do the right thing, simply close the browser.