Malware-based phishing uses alerts and notifications from known malware companies to trick the user into supplying personal information. This can lead to credit card fraud, bank account hacking, and overall identity theft. Many computer users are unaware of whether an alert is fake or not, and they may respond to pop-ups and other notifications without thinking about their origins.
Most malware phishing scams capitalize on consumer fear of viruses and computer crashes. They may send an alert that the computer has a virus or needs an update with its virus protection, when in fact it does not. The person may be required to supply their credit card information, which will then be rerouted to the scammer’s account.
Some examples of malware-based phishing techniques include:
- The “FBI Warning” Locked Screen: This usually involves a notice that the FBI has locked your computer due to illegal downloads. The person will not be able to unfreeze the screen unless they call a number, etc.
- “You Have a Virus”: The person may be asked to purchase more malware to combat the virus. Credit card information is then stolen with no actual purchase taking place.
- "Download this Program”: Similarly, the person may be asked to download a program or install an update.
In most cases, the malware scam will involve some sort of fake purchase to remedy a potentially damaging situation for the computer. In most cases, no purchase is made, and instead the person’s information or money is stolen and rerouted to an off-site bank account.
Be suspicious of notifications from programs that are not installed on your computer. Your computer will not send update requests if the program is not on your computer. If you’re unsure of a certain pop-up message or notification, you may need to have your equipment looked at by a professional. In any case, don’t divulge your information or credit card numbers to any company or person that you aren’t sure of.
You can also report instances of fraud or scams to government agencies or to the police. In some cases, you may file a lawsuit if a person or company has directly caused you losses (such as lost business or lost work files on your computer).
Malware scams can be particularly damaging for individuals and businesses. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you need to report a scam incident or if you need to sue in relation to malware scams. Criminal consequences can result from these types of violations. A qualified lawyer near you can assist you in filing a claim, and can help you obtain damages if this is necessary in your case.