Are you buying bogus anti-virus software?

HOUSTON Many computer users see the warning and think they are doing the right thing by clicking on what bills itself as anti-virus protection. Instead, they end up getting charged more than $100 for nothing and no way to contact the company.

Steve Middlebrook says when his wife clicked on an anti-virus warning, she thought she was buying software that would protect the computer. Instead...

"When she got home, she checked on our computer to verify the status of it and it was not even on our computer," said Middlebrook.

But what did show up was a bill for $130 from a company called Apparently Middlebrook's wife followed a link to a website that appeared to sell antivirus software. Middlebrook tried to contact the company.

"I called the phone number," he said. "Nothing happens. No rings, no blinks, no sound, nothing."

So Middlebrook contacted his bank and disputed the charge, even going so far as to change his credit card number.

Computer experts we spoke with say the pop ups that fooled the Middlebrooks have fooled a lot of people.

"They mimic anti-virus programs, legitimate anti-virus programs," said Alex Diaz with Top Tech Experts. "They to trick you into thinking it is real and that you have threats already on your computer and try to scare you into wanting to remove viruses that you do not have."

Diaz says computer users who click on the anti-virus pop-ups download viruses.

"We get computers here literally every single day that have this. It is a new style of virus because it tries to trick you," said Diaz.

Diaz says if you see an antivirus pop up that you cannot close while surfing the web...

"At that point, hit the power button," he said. "Turn off the computer. That is the safe bet."

Of course, you can buy actual anti-virus software and you should. But be sure you are on the company's own website before downloading anything.

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