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Online Scams to Avoid in 2017

Posted on by Indos Computer Services


Indos Computer Services protect businesses against viruses and computer bugs every day. So we’re going to spread a little bit of anti-virus wisdom to home web surfers who need advice to avoid online scams. Here’s our list of the latest. Some you may recognise, some you may never have heard of before. Whatever the case, if you’re confronted by any one of these online scams, follow our professional advice below.

Cup of black coffee on a laptop business concept

Primark Facebook Scam

Facebook users are currently reporting direct messages containing a bogus link to an £100.00 Primark voucher. For anyone who indulges in a bit of retail therapy, this offer is proving too tempting, with hundreds of victims already affected.

Pressing this link directs you to a fake website to answer some questions, such as your name, address and phone number. This information allows scammers to sign you up to an expensive text messaging service.

Advice: If this message appears in your Facebook direct messages, delete it immediately.

Sainsbury’s Phishing Scam

Phishing concerns any scam that is sent via email. Following on from the Primark voucher scam, a similar racket is currently offering fake Sainsbury’s vouchers worth £75.00. The online ‘gift coupon’ sounds too good to be true to parents feeding families on a tight budget, and that’s because it is.

In all cases, following the link requires you to input personal and financial information to ‘redeem’ the coupon. Handing over details to any untrusted site is a bad idea and should be avoided. Watch out for the same scam using other supermarkets and stores, too, such as Asda, Argos and Morrisons.

Advice: If this message appears in your inbox either delete it immediately, or send an email to Sainsbury’s describing the email subject header and they will advise as to the email’s authenticity.

Fake Anti-virus Software

‘Your computer is infected! Download Anti-virus Pro now to protect your system!’

This pop-up is getting old but it nevertheless makes it onto our list because it is still effective. Many computer users mistake the anti-virus pop-up for an update message from their actual anti-virus software.

Whatever the reason for clicking the pop-up, it isn’t authentic. When clicked, malware is downloaded and can cause breaches in a computer’s firewall. The malware can also attack your actual anti-virus software. Certainly, this one is to be avoided at all costs. The message may quote ‘Anti-virus Pro’, ‘Anti-virus X’ or similar; or it could use a well established name such as Norton or McAfee.

Advice: Close the window containing the pop-up. Close all other windows and save any current documents. Run a virus scan if possible and then restart the computer.

Copycat Websites

A copycat website is a devious trick that is (unsurprisingly) effective. A fraudster opens a legitimate-looking, but fake website purporting to be a big name brand or company. When someone searches for this company, they click on a high-ranking link on the search engine results which sends them to the copycat website.

The victim then purchases an item or service from the copycat website, inadvertently handing over their financial details to scammers.

This scam is devious because instead of actively seeking victims, a copycat website waits for victims to come to them with open wallets and unsuspecting of fraud.

Advice: Be especially vigilant of websites that you purchase any goods or services from. In addition:


  • Check the domain name: should ring alarm bells.
  • Browse the website and check for consistently bad spelling, pixelated photos or watermarked photos.
  • Read online reviews of the website on trusted review sites such as
  • Check for the padlock or unbroken key icon in the address bar of your browser; this is a good sign as it means the website is enabled for data encryption, and handles sensitive data in a secure manner
  • Is the offer too good to be believed? If so, save your money and move onto another website.


Indos Computer Services provide 24-hour support networks for businesses of all sizes, for complete protection from hackers, viruses and bugs, as well as support for technical malfunctions and breakdowns. Our expert team are helpful and conscientious, working efficiently to rectify your problem in a simple, straightforward manner so you can get back to business as quickly as possible. Our services include remote network support, on-site IT support, remote IT support, on-site computer support, 24-hour support and system monitoring. For more information on how we can help your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist. We operate throughout St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead.

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