POSTED: Friday, January 1, 2010 - 6:27pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:26pm
As long as you are connected to the internet, computer pop-ups are hard to avoid. Now, the FBI is warning consumers of pop-up advertisements offering fake anti-virus software that look real, but could lead to big problems.
"If it's offering a free service, a free security scan, or a download you can purchase at no cost at all, you want to really be skeptical of those kinds of issues," says James Hamler, Supervisory Information Technology Specialist with the FBI.
Hamler warns downloading this software could lead to viruses on your computer that allow criminals to access your personal information.
"Never reply to pop-ups, never reply to these e-mails at all. It's a big puzzle. Once people get small pieces of that puzzle, they can really profile you and where you surf or what you have on your computer," he says.
How do you know if you have fallen victim?
"If you see your internet browser home page change, if you start seeing pop-ups come out of no where that you've never been to sites of, you're going to realize you picked up something somewhere," Hamler warns.
To protect yourself and your computer, Hemler recommends you never give your personal information out, be sure to keep up with the latest security and anti-virus updates and if you think you have fallen victim to a cyber scam, run an anti-virus scan on your computer and file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov .