The coronavirus is dominating the headlines right now, but there is another type of virus you need to watch for.
Those are computer viruses.
Computer ransomware is on the rise again in 2020, attacking not just windows PCs, but Macbooks as well. And many people are paying a scammer hundreds of dollars to unlock their computer!
Charlene Stone was on her PC when a support alert took over her screen.
"All of a sudden this popup, the whole thing, this thing popped up on the screen, I was like what's that?” she said.
It urged her to call Microsoft immediately.
But Stone had been hit with computer scams before, so she tried to close the box.
“It would do anything it was totally frozen, and I tried to use the mouse and everything,” she said. “I tried every key on the keyboard. And nothing would move!”
Stone was a victim of ransomware that sneaks into PC's and Apple Macbooks as well.
It locks your screen until you hand over your credit card or gift card.
What makes these attacks so frightening and why so many people ending paying money to have the pop up removed is that nothing seems to make it go away! You press enter, use your mouse to out and the pop up box doesn't move. Some versions even have a robotic voice that talks to you!
"Your computer has alerted us that it is affected with a virus and spyware."
John Andrea of Mobile Technology Solutions told me last year that people are calling him in a panic.
"The entire time your computer doesn't have a problem at all,” he said. “They're just telling you it has a problem."
He says if you get this popup. try "control-alt-delete" first.
If that doesn't work? Press the power button.
Finally unplug it.
Charlene did that, and the PC eventually rebooted with no warning box.
"If you call you don't know what they are going to do, and nowadays so many people are stealing your information and whatever,” she said.
There is one type of ransomware that won't go away with a shutdown that locks and encrypts your files. Call a PC repair shop if you are hit with that one, so you don’t waste your money.