No doubt, the Internet has revolutionized the way we live. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized they way we get scammed.
If your computer slows down dramatically, displays a large number of pop-up ads, or takes you to web pages you did not intend to visit, it may be infected with viruses or spyware. Viruses and spyware are malicious programs that scammers try to sneak onto your computer to control it or steal your personal information. Scan and clean your computer using updated anti-virus software immediately.
The Oregon Department of Justice offers the following advice to avoid viruses and spyware:
- Never open email attachments or click on links in an email from a sender you don't know. Be wary of suspicious attachments and links even from people you do know. Email accounts are often hijacked by cybercriminals and used to distribute viruses and spyware.
- Do not download free software or mobile apps unless it is from a trusted source. Viruses and spyware can be made to look like it is a legitimate product (and can infect mobile devices now too).
- Never click on ads that tell you your computer is infected or offer free or reduced priced products. Websites, quizzes and pop-up ads that offer products for free or for a drastically reduced price are often created to steal credit card and personal information either by installing malware or simply asking for it. Victims will not receive the product, but may have a few surprises "pop-up" on their credit card or bank account statement.
- Use security software that protects your computer from viruses and spyware. Be sure it updates automatically so you are protected against the latest threats.
If you would like to be notified of emerging scams, fraud and other consumer threats as they arise, please join the Oregon Scam Alert Network. DOJ will keep you updated about important consumer information to educate and protect your friends, family, coworkers and anyone else before they fall victim to scams and fraud.
Learn More From the Federal Trade Commission
For more information about protecting yourself online please visit OnGuard Online.