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Have authorities detected illegal activities on my computer?

Have authorities detected illegal activities on my computer?

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John writes:

I got an email saying that illegal materials were found on my computer and it would be locked until I paid a fine. Is this a scam?

Yes, this sounds like a common blackmail scam called ransomware. Ransomware is an email, website or pop-up window that displays warnings about possible illegal activities and demands payment before you can access your files and programs again. Delete the email and report it immediately.

Do you think you might have already fallen for a ransomware scam? Find out what to do.

Comments
  • I don't work for Microsoft, but I'm an IT professional.  Note that Microsoft will NEVER call you to tell you there is a problem with your computer.  Neither will anyone else.  The phone call is the same as the description e-mail above.  I received a call myself, but the guy on the phone was so computer illeterate himself that he didn't even understand what I meant when I said I am a network administration.

  • You'll know when there is illegal activity on your PC. There will be a knock on the door and someone, probably in uniform, will be holding a warrant!

    Until then ignore any claims by phone or whatever that your PC has a problem. These people are preying on the foolish who don't question what they are told.

  • People calling you up saying they are from Microsoft are scammers. They usually ask you to look at the events log which is normally full of warnings but htis is normal.  I have had ransom ware on my PC which required  a repair as it corrupted many of my files. From now on ill only be visiting trusted web pages as it circumvented Macafee and firewall. Cost over £100 to get sorted.  

  • Come on folks - use some brains.  Install good anti-virus software (No - not the 'make my computer faster' stuff adverstized on TV, and definitly nothing that is advertized in pop ups on your computer).  Keep it updated.

    Microsoft's security essentials is good.  There are others out there that are also good.  

    If you use Microsoft's - keep your windows updates turned on and 'automatically' installed.  That way security essentials stays updated.  

    Do that and you'll not have these problems.

    And no - NO ONE calls you out of the blue to tell you that your computer is 'in danger' or 'infected'.  NO LEGITIMATE COMPANY DOES THAT.  If they call like this, it's guaranteed to be a scam.  Hang up immediately.

    If you think you're at risk - check out Microsoft's security web page AND DO WHAT IT SAYS.

  • Ask them if they know your IP-number, if they do not, just hang up!

    Then ask yourself "How do they know which computer is related to a certain phonenumber?".

  • They call us once or twice a month. We've taken to acting concerned 'Ooh, I'll just go and turn on my computer...' then leaving them hanging on the phone. They tend to hang up after 10 minutes or so, which is 10 minutes they aren't bothering anybody else.

  • The simplest way to handle these calls is to say: "I'm sorry, you must be mistaken.  I don't have a computer."  It stops them cold and they hang up

  • Had a phone call several months ago from a guy who said his company was under contract with Microsoft to fix a serious flaw in Windows.  Wanted me to go to my computer and type in some words in the Search box.  Told him my computer had all its Windows Updates, plus if there was a big problem Microsoft would alert everyone by email or through news channels. Told him goodbye and hung up.  He called back a few minutes later and tried again to get me to work with him.  This time I was not courteous and just hung up!.

  • Today I had a call on my cell phone telling me that my computer would be shut down and could not be accessed unless I followed their directions. This from a person who could not even speak proper English. I looked at the call in screen and it said the # was from Washington DC. I asked how they got my # as I was on the do not call list, they immediately hung up so people beware!

  • Are you people for real?

    Microsoft does not call you unless you call them first.

  • What about the FBI ransomware. That one locks you screen till you pay. I found a way to get rid of it but I'm a software engineer.  May Microsoft can come with away to catch it with a virus scan.

  • I received 2 calls from someone saying that they ate from a computer company.  Wanted to fix my computer. I politely refused them the 1st time and ob the second call u firmly told them not to ever call my phone!

  • Received India sounding call claiming to be from DELL. My computer is a DELL. Saying my warranty had expired, could renew for $20.00. Form popped up looking like DELL, filled in credit card info, they immediately began running up big charges. Received a call from credit card telling of ifraud activity, would send new card in 3 days.

  • I received a call not from microsoft but from Windows - PC supportnServices to install a firewall since there were errors and warnings on my computer. I know that I have sent error warnings to windows and I did see 120 of them in the system. I did buy and install the firewall. I hope that this is a legitimate division of Windows.

  • I've had them call me a few times & I just tell them ok what do I need to type? I listen then wait until they ask if I typed it & I reply yes. Then they ask what's on the screen & I tell them nothing is on the screen. So they want me to type something else which I tell them I did. They ask again if anything shows up & I tell them no. Then I ask them if the O/S has anything to do with it? They ask what O/S I'm running & I say Linux & they say that they can't help me & hang up. This whole time I've been sitting on my front porch watch the car's & such. roflmao......at least it keeps them from calling someone else & harassing them or actually getting someone to do what they say. Wish the govt or the phone company could stop them some how!!!!!!!!!!

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