HOUSTON – Skype on Tuesday warned its users to avoid clicking suspicious links in private messages that look to take over computers and hold them ransom for $200.
If you’re on the Internet, you’ve seen this type of scam before – whether it be through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Skype said the scammers are using the phrase “LOL is this your new profile pic?” to trick people into clicking a link that takes their computer to a harmful website. Once there, Windows computers can be infected with a program that demands money to uninstall itself.
Sometimes these links come from other infected computers, which means the sender could appear to be a friend or family member.
Skype officials encouraged everyone to make sure they were using the most recent version of their program available at skype.com. They also said users’ anti-virus software should be up-to-date.
In general, never ever click any links with generic, eye-catching phrases: (e.g. “Is this you in this photo!?” “OMG look what you did!” “Look at this crazy sex tape!”
If you think you’ve clicked one of these links, change all your passwords and scan your computer for viruses and malware using a program like Spybot S&D (see below).
Lastly, if your computer is ever infected, never pay the scammer! After all, they are a scammer, and they will most likely not fix our computer or the virus message will just come back a short time later. If you paid before, call your credit card company and dispute the charge.