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 Internet Adware Scams

by Nikki Willhite

If you have ever had your computer infected by Adware, you know the consequences. Adware is a HUGE scam on the Internet. Adware works somewhat the same as a virus.  You get it by opening an infected email, or downloading an infected file. The people who run this scan are clever. Often you do not even realize you are doing it.

Adware goes so deep into your computer, it can be impossible to remove without wiping your hard drive clean. It is expensive, and it wastes your time.

Once Adware is on your computer, pop up windows will start coming up on your screen. Words the Adware wants you to click on will become underlined. The Adware is doing everything it can to get you to go to their sites.

To add insult to injury, there is a second part of this scheme. When you have Adware on your computer, it becomes next to impossible to use your computer. You become desperate to get it off. You start searching the Internet for programs to remove it. Who puts up the programs? The same people who put up the Adware. These programs cost money....and they DO NOT WORK!

Sometimes reliable software download sites do the billing, and they will refund your money if you contact them.  These companies, although not directly responsible for the scam, are a willing participant. They know what is going on, and they go along with it.

Unfortunately, even virus protection cannot stop the harm done by Adware. New Adware is created every day to jump over barriers put in place by virus programs. We were infected twice this year. We learned a lot. Here is some information to help you if it happens to you.

Fix it

First of all, do everything you can to prevent being attacked by Adware. Do not down free software programs, or anything that you are not 100% sure is safe. Always look at the URL of the site you are at. There are many sites made to look like legitimate ones. You may think you are on a Microsoft site, but the URL will be slightly altered.

Never open an attachment sent with an email, especially if you don't know who sent it. Email accounts are hacked every day. I am constantly receiving emails from my family...that they didn't send. This means that someone hacked into their email, and sent out emails to the people in their address book.

As to removing the Adware, here are the possibilities, from the frugal solutions to the more expensive but less time consuming alternatives.

 

First check your control panel to see if your Adware is listed in the programs you can remove from your computer.  It is not likely, but you should do this first.

You computer has a "Restore Point" program. If it is working, you can "roll back" your computer to an earlier date. That may remove the Adware.  However, it will also remove any programs that you have installed on your computer after the restore point date because it will alter your windows registry and files.

If you are willing to spend the time, you can restore your computer to the way it was when you first purchased it.  Even if your computer didn't come with a recovery disk, and you didn't make one when you first purchased it, there is often a recovery program on the hard drive with the files to perform this task.

After your computer is basically wiped clean, you have to reinstall everything you put on it. It isn't hard to reinstall programs like Microsoft Word, that come with a disk and authorization code, but if you have programs you downloaded from the Internet, it can take several days of hard work to remember and find where you downloaded them and the information you need to verify that you paid for the program and get it to run properly.

If you want to take the "easy way" out, you can call the Geek Squad. It will not be cheap. They can take over your computer and remove the Adware, or you can bring it into their store. The first time our computer was infected this year, we let the Geek Squad take over our computer. I watched what the tech did. It took several hours and many sophisticated programs to remove it.  However, it was successful.

We learned our lesson this year. We are keeping a lot of information on flash drives now, even though we also have an online backup.  While the online back works well, it can take 5 days and nights to restore data to your computer.  We plan on keeping our computer as lean as possible so that it will be easier to restore data if it happens again.  Unfortunately, the way the world is going,  things are probably going to get worse in the future.

We also have lists and papers with the needed URL's and codes to activate reinstalled programs conveniently on hand. We will not have to waste time hunting things down.  We will just follow the list.  It will be quicker and easier. 

 For your safety and for your sanity, be prepared for the consequences of a vicious Adware attack.  Life is always a lot more simple when you are organized.  Save time and money by doing everything you can to avoid an Adware attack and knowing what to do if you experience one.

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!

 

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