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I recently got a message on my laptop screen that someone is stealing:

  • my credit card info
  • my pictures
  • facebook info

However, nothing seems wrong with my facebook and I have all my pictures and apps. So I was wondering if there actually is someone on my laptop. What should I do?

marked as duplicate by Xiong Chiamiov, CaffeineAddiction, Xander, Steve, Rory Alsop Mar 10 '17 at 20:17

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    Two things: 1) This website isn't a "help me free my computer from malware pls!!!!" site. 2) If you could actually provide more detail then you might get help. For example: Where was the message? Lots of things on computers show messages to the user. Was this in the web browser as an advertisement? a popup in the webbrowser? Pop on up the computer not related to the web browser? – d0nut Mar 10 '17 at 15:39
  • Use antivirus, antimalware. Save your data, make a clean O.S. installation – OscarAkaElvis Mar 10 '17 at 15:39
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    can you post a screenshot? – MikeSchem Mar 10 '17 at 15:47
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    I made a guess that you're using Windows. If that's not the case, feel free to remove the tag. – Xiong Chiamiov Mar 10 '17 at 15:49
  • I don't think it's a duplicate, as in this case it doesn't look like it has actually been infected. – Xiong Chiamiov Mar 10 '17 at 19:00
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The message you saw may have come from scareware on your system, i.e., software that attempts to scare a user into buying a product by claiming that his system is infected by a lot of malware or makes other false claims. Or, if you are seeing the message in your browser, it may simply be that you've visited a website that is displaying a similar message to convince you to buy a product or call a phone number where you will be asked for a credit card number to pay for a "technician", who may claim to work for Apple, Microsoft, or some other company the user would likely think is a legitimate company, to fix your system, whereas, in reality, you would be providing a credit card number to a scammer who would "fix" a nonexistent problem and then might not only charge the cost for his "service" to your credit card, but use your number for other charges or provide your credit card information to others who would do so. You didn't provide a screen shot or enough detail for others to determine whether the former or the latter possibility is more likely, but I've encountered a number of cases recently where users have been scared by such messages being displayed from a webpage where the only action needed was to close the tab in the browser for that particular webpage. If you closed your browser and never saw the message repeated, then I'd suspect the latter possibility explains what you saw.

However, for peace of mind, some suggestions for legitimate, free antivirus/antispyware products you could use to scan your system, which shouldn't conflict with an existing antivirus/antispyware product on your system, that can be run manually on-demand, i.e., rather than having them constantly monitoring your system causing continuous additional CPU and memory load:

  1. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
  2. Malwarebytes Free
  3. Sophos Virus Removal Tool
  4. SUPERAntispyware
  5. Spybot - Search & Destroy

I've sometimes found that using several antivirus/antispyware products will allow me to identify malware that is relatively new or particularly insidious. It isn't always that one product is far superior to all others, but, instead, that the developers of some products have not yet encountered a new malware variant, but one particular company or organization has already encountered it and has updated their virus/spyware definitions to detect it. So for malware x, product A, B, C, and D may miss it, but product E may find it while for malware y, A, C, D, and E may not identify it, but B does. When I've had the time, I've sometimes tried a dozen or more before finding one that detected a particularly insidious piece of malware. But, unless the message is popping up, even after a scan by just one, such as Malwarebytes, declares your system to be free of malware, a scan by just one of them is probably enough for assurance that your system isn't actually infected/compromised.

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The message on your screen is probably an advertisement trying to get you to install their scammy fake security software. You should not.

Take the standard precautions, eg install a trusted antivirus, install a trusted anti-malware program, install an ad-blocker, and don't click on things like that.

  • How do you know that an AV is trusted? Trusted by whom? The user asking might not have the faintest clue. – A. Hersean Mar 10 '17 at 16:06
  • @A.Hersean how would you have worded that sentence? – DKNUCKLES Mar 10 '17 at 16:27
  • You could have given more details, as which comparative or review websites you trust and why do you trust them. The chain of trust goes like this: you're trusted on SE (6K points), you give your trust to other websites which in turn give their trust to AV or ad-block products. – A. Hersean Mar 13 '17 at 8:14
  • By "trusted" I mean "whatever your local IT guy or neighbor kid recommends", or more broadly, "something that would show up in a Smart Computing review of anti-viruses" (as opposed to "something advertised in a pop-up"). I'm not qualified to give specific product recommendations in that field, and additionally I believe one of the most important attributes is how easily you can get in-person support for it. – Xiong Chiamiov Mar 26 '17 at 22:18

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