Don’t fall for this web scam – here’s how to avoid it

 

There are lots of scams on the internet and it isn’t difficult to find them. A recent search for Windows 8 tips at Google led me to a website that demanded instant payment from me or suffer dire consequences. Needless to say, I didn’t hand over any money and neither should you. Here is how to deal with this scam.

Among the Google search results for Windows 8 tips was what looked like an interesting website. Clicking the link in the search results resulted in this message popping up in the browser though:

 Website scam

Here is a larger version of the message in the middle of the browser:

 scam2

Apparently I have been fined £100, which I have to pay using UKash or PaySafeCard. These are online payment systems (neither of which I use), and only if I pay will my browser be unblocked and all information decrypted.

Whenever you get something like this in the browser, you should never click any buttons, not even the Cancel one – Cancel may be a trick, you never know, and it might encrypt the disk drive. The best solution is to close the browser down.

Unfortunately, the browser is frozen and will not respond. The tab will not close, the browser close button will not close and nothing works. Chrome is locked.

Windows is not locked though and right clicking the icon on the taskbar displays this menu with a Close window option:

 Taskbar menus

Even more bad luck here and Close window does not work. The browser remains on the screen and will not close.

The next step is to right click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Find Google Chrome on the Processes tab, right click it and select End task. This worked and Chrome closed down. If it had not worked, the next step would be to shut down Windows and if that didn't work, hold down the power button for five seconds and the PC switches off.

 Windows Task Manager

When Chrome is restarted, it detects that it shut down improperly and (un)helpfully offers to restore the pages. No way! That’s the last thing you want to do. Click the cross button at the right side of this orange bar to dismiss the message.

 Reopen pages in Chrome

That solves the locked browser problem and scary message, but you should thoroughly scan the computer for viruses just in case anything has got onto the PC. In this case it hadn’t, but you should always check.


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