We have had a number of cases of customers having being scammed on their computers and laptops. Luckily they thought to contact the authorities and enquire about the situation.
Regardless of their actions to save them selves from fraudulent troubles, their computers are still heavily at risk. Sadly, there isn't much anyone can do to remove the malware involved caused by such activities, and we personally recommend a full re-install of Windows, removing everything in the process.
We advise that you install anti-malware measures to help prevent such things from happening, but there is not a single program that can completely prevent malware. So we will talk about preventative measures that could help save your data, information, and personal details from being extorted by scammers.
Be vigilant whilst browsing the web.
There are many signs that something isn't how it seems whilst browsing on the internet. One definite thing to check for is that the URL, or web address, starts with HTTPS://. HTTPS is a secure link between your browser and the website, this is something that is becoming more popular and being implemented by a lot of reputable websites in the past couple years.
So if you go on a website that doesn't have HTTPS at the start of the URL, your security may be at risk, although it doesn't necessarily mean that you are at risk.
The website URL is a big sign of legitimacy. A legitimate URL looks like this:
Where as an illegitimate URL would look like this
http://www.paypal.com.pp.org or http://paypal.jebweb.com and so many more combinations.
Always make sure to check the URL.
Poor quality webpages.
If you are searching for a specific website and it takes a long time to load, has blurry or fuzzy images, or looks poorly designed, it may be a sign that this website may not be legitimate.
A good example would be when searching for the popular program WinRAR. Searching Google for WinRAR will find several results pointing to similar websites. The official website is rarlab.com, but the top result is win-rar.com, which is from the same company but it's a simplified version to help download the current version. The reason why we chose WinRAR as the example for this is because the win-rar.com website can be misconstrued as an illegitimate from it's low quality images and simplified layout.
However, this just one example. If you continue to look through the results for WinRAR on Google, you will begin to find more results claiming to be the official company behind the product.
If you're ever in doubt of the legitimacy of a website there are some free service that can tell you if a website is trustworthy. Avast Online Security is a free to use Google Chrome plug-in that scans Google results whilst you search, and shows a green tick next to safe links.
Google Chrome also has built-in scanner that warns you before loading the page. The problem with this is that it will only tell you after you have clicked it. Thankfully if it is deemed unsafe to access by Google, it will not allow you to continue without access advanced settings to bypass it.
Downloading illegitimate software and media can be known to carry along many unwanted files, or not downloading the file you wanted at all. Your anti-virus or malware security will usually catch these when they finish downloading and quarantine them for your review. Illegal downloads are a definite source of unwanted scamming software, be aware of the consequences if you do so. It's illegal after all.
Following links through ads.
You may have seen those "Lose 50 lbs in just 5 days" or those "This simple trick will gain you x inches" ads. Now avoiding these kinds of ads could be deemed as common sense, but some users do not understand the risks, and think that clicking these links could help them lose that weight they've been trying to shift before a holiday, or to earn that dream £50,000 a month from home". These ads are tailored as what are known as sucker ads, and usually involve some kind of online purchase requiring bank details.
We think it's safe to say the you should never clicks these kinds of ads. They will not offer any miracle cure, and they will not download more RAM to your computer. Stay away from any ad that may indicates something to good to be true, or can repair your computer with just one click.
We hope that this post will help you securely search online and keep you away from the scammers and dangerous software. If you believe that your system is at risk then feel free to call us on the telephone number at the top of this website, and talk to us and we will offer advice.
If you are at risk of potential scamming risks, please visit Action Fraud or forward any emails to Shop Direct and they will give you advice on what to do.