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Fake anti-virus software claims my dad as a victim

My father was looking forward to my visit during Christmas vacation, not only because he wanted to reunite with his only child, but because he wanted me to fix his computer. I consider myself an average computer user, but he calls me his “computer guru.” Thanks to all I have been exposed to concerning computer security, I put that moniker to the test.

Poor old dad uses his computer daily for his digital art, but during a recent move he let his antivirus software expire. His machine started getting popups, browser redirects and his inbox was inundated with spam, causing him much distress and difficulty while working. Frightening warnings appeared on the screen notifying him of viruses, which he was sure he must have. Unfortunately, he fell for one of the rouge antivirus products in the 2009-antispyware family and ordered it with his credit card. After paying $59.95, he still got all that annoying stuff, plus alarming reports every 5 seconds saying that his machine was infected. Needless to say, he was furious!

It took some work, but we managed to get his computer clean of the rogue software with the help of Malwarebytes’ Anti-malware. Thanks to Colin at Free PC Security and WOT users for introducing me to that.

Dad’s new ISP had a free McAfee suite available for subscribers in his tier, so we installed it, updated the database and ran a scan. Then we made sure all other software was updated by running a Secunia scan to check for vulnerabilities. And to keep his Internet surfing safer we installed Web of Trust.

I feel confident now that he is protected, but I left detailed instructions on how to use these tools, plus I will email him with reminders. I earned the title “computer guru” this time.

Meanwhile, Daddy is anxiously awaiting his credit card bill and is ready to refuse payment and report this rogue company. I sure hope he gets some satisfaction.

I hear about these cases all the time and I even made a video about it for WOT, but to come face to face with a real occurrence of this type of fraud was eye-opening. My elderly dad is on a fixed income and can’t afford to spend money foolishly. His computer is his lifeline out to the broader world now that he’s retired, and he felt violated and hurt when he realized he was ripped off. I was happy to read Esa’s posting about the FTC’s restraining order for sellers of “scareware.”

Thank you friends of WOT for helping me help my dad. Together we must keep up the struggle for a safer Internet for everyone.

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