Unfortunately, each and every day good and honest people fall victim to “fake anti-virus” scams. What happens is your computer gets infected with a virus. Instead of throwing up tons of pop up videos, slowing down your computer like crazy, or wreaking other sorts of harmful havoc, it pretends to be anti-virus software.
That’s right, the virus itself pretends to be a good piece of software. The designers of these viruses make them look a lot like what regular anti-virus software looks like. Many of them look an awful like the software you’d find in Windows.
So what happens is you get a pop up alerting you of a virus. In order to get rid of it you need to purchase anti-virus software. But remember it was the virus that presented this fake anti-virus software, so essentially it’s just a shakedown. They’ll remove or at least hide the infection from you as long as you give them your credit card. You just got scammed.
Some versions don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Virus makers can make a lot of money if they truly hide the infection, don’t mess with the computer anymore, and just quietly collect $50-100 each year for the “anti-virus software”.
Others though are more devious and will continue to spy on you. They’ll recommend you uninstall real anti-virus software due to a conflict, or just disable it from running. Now they have your computer in an environment that they control, and can use spyware to show you pop ups and affiliate offers.
The worst case of course is that you just gave your credit card information to a criminal, and now they’re either going to use it or sell your information.
Bottom line: Know what anti-virus software you are running. If anything else pops up alerting you, close down the program and run Malwarebytes and your regular anti-virus – because you do have an infection, just not the one they’re trying to make you believe.