Windows 10 Upgrade Scam

Get-Email-Notification-Button-169x73x96If you haven’t already upgraded to Microsoft’s Windows 10, now’s a great time. In addition to a host of fixes and improvements, it’s also free for owners of Windows 7 and 8.1 (if you upgrade by July 29, 2016). If you have Windows XP or Vista, you can still upgrade, but it’ll cost you $119. With a streamlined user interface and a helpful virtual assistant named Cortana, Windows 10 might be just the ticket you’ve been looking for to increase your productivity and reduce your computer-related frustration. But the latest release of Windows is not without con-artists trying to make a buck off of unsuspecting users like you. Here’s what to look for and how you can avoid being taken advantage of by these scammers.

Watch out for emails asking you to download Microsoft’s Windows 10 directly from a link in the email. They may look official, but they’re actually coming from places like Thailand. If you click the link and download the file, instead of receiving the new operating system, you’ll instead find a ransomware program call CTB Locker added to your computer, a type of malware that locks you out of parts of your system unless you pay the scammers to remove it (using your credit card, of course).

So what should you look out for? Simple. Microsoft is not distributing their upgraded operating system through email; instead, look for a windows icon in your system tray to upgrade.

windows 10 upgrade icon

This window-shaped icon might ask for your email address, and you might get an email from Microsoft when your upgrade is ready to download, but you will not be asked to click a link in an email to download it; rather, the downloading and upgrading are handled by your computer.

You probably already know you should never open or download a file from an email unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe, but this is just another example of the lengths criminals will go to steal your money and your private information. Remember: Always practice safe internet behavior, or you could catch a nasty bug.