COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Scammers use malicious software, also known as malware to download harmful software and viruses onto your computer's hard drive. Why? So they can get information about you to sell to other hackers.
"It's very difficult to remove the software once you have it," said Det. Jon Price, with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. "You often times have to hire a professional to remove it completely."
How to detect malware?
Here are tips to detect #malware based on studying computer behavior.
1. The first red flag is if you receive pop-ups stating your computer has been infected with malware. The ads will request you download a system to remove the malware, but will only add more viruses.
2. Is your computer running slower than usual? Most malware will be using other systems on your computer that result in the speed slowing down significantly.
3. Are your antivirus software and firewalls disabled? That's a big one. If so, that means the scammers are getting full access and there's nothing in place to stop virus.
4. Constant computer crashes. The malware can corrupt certain files that help your computer run effectively. So if there's a lot of freezing, or unexpected shutdowns - that could be an indicator you have some kind of virus on your machine.
Meet Tracy Dodson
Among his many jobs at The Perk Downtown, Tracy Dodson doesn't just filter out your coffee....he filters out the company's spam email.
A malware email can be very detailed with links and specific information about you.
"It's really scary... they research your company, know what you do... so they can make it look like it is directly to you," said Dodson.
If you click on a malware encrypted link... it will automatically download viruses on your computer. That leads to pop-ups that often times offer to remove the malware for a fee, but will just download additional spyware.
If spyware does creep on your computer, it is not an easy fix.
"Malware can be very difficult to remove you almost have to go to a certified specialist and have it worked on professionally," said Det. Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
So bottom line - if you get a suspicious email, read the entire message and look for poor grammar before clicking on any links.
"It's very frustrating there's even people in the world who do this," Dodson said.
Another tip- be sure to update your anti-virus software on your computer and verify it's not disabled.
Want to report a scam?
Email me at email@example.com