Home Science & Technology How clicking on a fake Amazon ad can lead to a Microsoft support scam

How clicking on a fake Amazon ad can lead to a Microsoft support scam

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How clicking on a fake Amazon ad can lead to a Microsoft support scam

How would you feel if you clicked on a link that looked like the official Amazon site, only to find out eventually that you had landed on a site that was trying to scam you?

This is what happened to unsuspecting people who searched for Amazon on Google and clicked on an ad that appeared to be from that online retailer. The ad was instead a fake that used a clever trick to disguise its malicious intentions. It exploited a bug in the way Google displays URLs in its ads, making them look identical to the real thing.

Once a person clicks on the ad, they are redirected to a tech support scam claiming that their computer is infected and asking them to call a fake number.

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How to recognize and avoid the Defender scam

Clicking on the link will display a fake “alert” that appears to be from Microsoft’s Windows Defender. It’s not a real antivirus, although it looks pretty convincing. It will say that there is malware on your device, it will block your browser and take over your entire screen. It will then display a phone number to call stating that it is “Microsoft Windows Support”.

Do not call this phone number or follow the instructions on the screen. This is a scam. It’s just a way to trick you into paying for bogus services or sharing personal information.

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Screenshot of the Windows Defender scam.

Clicking on fake Amazon ads can lead to Microsoft scam. (Beeping Computer)

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How did this happen?

Scammers use Google’s ad creation system to copy official links from reputable companies and redirect them to phishing or fraudulent websites. In this way, they can trick you into providing personal or financial information or install malware on your device.

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Woman visibly upset and looking at a laptop.

A woman looks at her computer and finds out that she has been scammed. ( )

How to react and report a fake Defender support scam

If you encounter a Defender support scam, you should close your browser window immediately. Scan your device with antivirus software for malware that may have caused the redirect.

Finally, be sure to report the fake Google ad to Google and the legitimate site it copied, in this case Amazon. This way you can protect yourself and others from this scam.

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How to avoid the fake Defender Support Scam?

Turning on antivirus software on all your devices is the best way to protect yourself from potential fraud. Good antivirus protection, actively running on your devices, will alert you to any malware on your system, warn you against clicking on any malicious links in phishing emails, and ultimately protect you from being hacked. See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

Never call the phone number displayed in a pop-up window or in an error message purporting to be from Microsoft. Real Microsoft error messages never include a phone number.

Do not give remote access to your computer to anyone who contacts you without your consent. Fraudsters can use remote access to install malware, ransomware, or other unwanted programs on your device.

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Computer screen with text "Security" on the screen.

It’s important to protect your information so you don’t get scammed. ( )

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Kurt’s Key Findings

It’s getting harder and harder to trust everything you see online. Even if all signs indicate that something is safe, there is still a possibility that it is a scam or an attack.

That’s why it’s so important to have antivirus protection and a number of other tips and tactics I recommend to stay safe.

Are you tired of constantly looking for threats? Let us know by writing to the address Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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