Here’s a tech support scam pop-up ad that I came across the other day while browsing a usually reputable newspaper site. The alert said there was a critical error with my Chrome browser.

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It claimed that some type of security system had detected an attempt to get into my bank account and that my private data was at risk.

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It was imperative that I call a Microsoft support number immediately.

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These crooks combined three different kinds of fake alerts in one! One for Google. One for a bank account. One for Microsoft. Just for heck of it, I called the scam number.

The woman on the other end questioned me about what site I’d been visiting and had me read the error aloud to her. I thought that was a nice touch. Then she told me, I’d done something wrong by clicking on a malicious link and that my computer was in danger. I’d need to allow them to access my computer with their secure server.  I told her where she could put her secure server.

This isn’t an actual alert, but a pop-up ad. Since there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to dismiss it, it can be worrisome. Getting rid of it is as simple as closing the tab at the top by clicking on the X.

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Had I let her onto my computer she might have installed who-knows-what-type of ransomware or accessed my personal data. Crooks like these also often sell fake tech support plans for hundreds of dollars. She and her ilk are counting on people panicking. Don’t panic. Don’t fall for it.