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Crooks push fake anti-virus via Skype calls

Robot on line 1 demands $19.95

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Scareware pushers have turned to Skype with automated messages to pressure marks into buying worthless 'security' software.

The scam is promoted via unsolicited calls on Skype during which a machine-generated message warns potential victims that their computer security is "out-of-date". Victims are invited to visit a website selling fake anti-virus software at $19.95 a pop.

One victim recorded the scam in progress for a YouTube video, highlighted by Sophos' Naked Security blog here. The robotic message states: "Attention: this is an automated computer system alert. Your computer protection service is not active. To activate computer protection, and repair your computer, go to..." Users are confronted with the alarming alert when they click on a message from an account called "URGENT NOTICE".

Scareware scams have been around for several years, so most people have wised up to crooks running unsolicited "security scans" that turn up a multitude of bogus problems on their machines.

Con men are therefore getting more imaginative with their tricks, using unsolicited calls from a "Microsoft support staffer" and automated calls on Skype. The Skype tactic represents the reuse of a ruse that first appeared around two years ago. ®

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