Beware screen-freezing malware

Tech-support scammers are using adware that freezes your browser to frighten people into contacting their fake tech support numbers. My father-in-law experienced something like this a few months back and I’ve actually encountered it a time or two myself.

What this particular form of malware actually does is freeze the tab you have open in your browser. They also will use pop-up ads to give you the impression that your PC has been locked up by some type of virus. Below is an example of what you’ll see.


These crooks try to provoke a fear response by claiming that your Internet Service Provider has blocked your PC because it is infected. It also claims that your account information and credit card numbers are being stolen as you speak and that to prevent your PC from being disabled, you must call a number that claims to be Microsoft.

Sometimes this alarming information is accompanied by loud noised and a voice repeating the scammers lie over and over again. When you try to close the tab, nothing happens. That tricks many people into believing that the PC is actually frozen. They call the number and get fleeced out of hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. Because once these crooks get their hands on your credit card information, there’s no telling what they’ll do with it.

In reality, all you have to do to get rid of the window is press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and close your browser in the task manager. To prevent this from happening, consider installing an ad-blocker in your browser.

Remember, these crooks are counting on your panic response. That’s how they get you to click on links that take you to malicious software downloads or hand over important information. Never panic. Always take a few minutes and ask yourself it makes sense.

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