Tech and Science

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

How would you feel if you clicked on a link that looks like the official Amazon website and then found out you landed on a page trying to scam you?

This has happened to some unsuspecting people who searched for Amazon on Google and clicked on an ad that appeared to be from the online retailer. Instead, the ad was fake, using a clever trick to disguise its malicious intent. This exploited a flaw in the way Google displays URLs in its ads, making them look identical to the real URLs.

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

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How to spot and avoid the Defender scam

Clicking on the link brings up a fake “alert” that appears to be from Microsoft’s Windows Defender. It’s not the real antivirus software, although it looks pretty convincing. It appears that your device contains malware, your browser will be blocked and your entire screen will be occupied. You’ll then be presented with a phone number to call that says “Microsoft Windows Support.”

Do not call the phone number or follow on-screen instructions. It’s a scam. It’s just an attempt to trick you into paying for fake services or giving up your personal information.

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Screenshot of a Windows Defender scam.

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

MORE: DON’T FALL FOR THIS LATEST ANTIVIRUS PROTECTION SCAM

How does this happen?

Scammers have taken advantage of Google’s ad creation system to copy official links from legitimate companies and redirect them to phishing or deceptive websites. In this way, they can trick you into disclosing your personal or financial information or install malware on your device.

THE MISTAKE THAT DELETED AN WHOLE FAMILY’S PHOTO ALBUM

Woman is visibly upset and looks at her laptop.

A woman looks at her computer and realizes she has been scammed. ( )

How to Respond and Report the Fake Defender Support Scam

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

After all, you should definitely do it Report the fake Google ad to Google and the legitimate website that copied it, in this case Amazon. This way you can protect yourself and others from this scam.

ARE YOU PROTECTED? WATCH THE BEST ANTIVIRUS PROTECTION OF 2023 IN REVIEW

How to avoid the fake Defender support scam?

Enabling antivirus software on all your devices is the best way to protect yourself from these potential scams. Having a good antivirus active on your devices will warn you about malware entering your system, warn you about clicking malicious links in phishing emails, and ultimately protect you from hacking attacks. Check out my expert review on the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

Never call the phone number that appears in a pop-up window or error message claiming to be from Microsoft. Genuine Microsoft error messages never include a phone number.

Do not grant remote access to your computer to anyone who contacts you unsolicited. Scammers can use remote access to install malware, ransomware or other unwanted programs on your device.

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computer screen with the text "Security" on the screen.

It’s important to keep your information safe so you don’t fall for scams. ( )

MORE: Don’t fall for this scam email asking for help

Kurt’s key insights

It’s getting harder and harder to trust everything you see on the internet. Even if all signs point to something being secure, there’s still a chance it’s a scam or an attack.

This is why antivirus protection is so important, along with the numerous other tips and tactics I recommend for staying on the safe side.

Tired of constantly being on the lookout for threats? Let us know by writing to us Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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