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Scam Alert – Fake virus pop up alerts on Android devices – 1 March 2018

We are warning users of the Android system about fake virus pop up alerts which are being widely reported.  The message can appear when visiting websites claiming that your phone has a number of viruses which "will soon corrupt your sim card, data, photos and contacts if no action is taken."  The messages often include the Google logo, a countdown timer and a button to "Remove Virus Now".

The messages are not genuine or connected with Google in any way and the claims made about viruses false.  Anyone clicking on the button will be prompted to install an anti-virus app which is likely to contain malware which could compromise the data security of your phone or continue to find further fake viruses which to remove could involve a fee.  Other examples have linked to adult websites or scam survey sites.

In some cases these pop ups can also hi-jack your browser preventing you closing it or reappearing when you open your browser again.  If this happens still do not click on the "Remove Virus" button or any other link.

The Hoax-Slayer website offers the following advice if this happens to your Android device.  Note that the exact procedure may vary somewhat depending on what type of Android phone and what browser you are using.

  1. While you may not be able to close the browser tab containing the popup, you should be able to close other open tabs.  Make sure that you close all other tabs in your browser before proceeding to the next steps.
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Open Apps.  Depending on your device, this menu item may be labelled Applications, Application Manager or similar
  4. In the app list, find and tap the name of the browser you are using.  It may be the name of the actual browser (for example, Chrome), or it may simply be labelled ‘Internet’ or ‘browser’.
  5. Tap Force Stop to completely shut down the browser
  6. Tap Storage
  7. Tap Clear Cache
  8. Once your browser cache is cleared, your browser should work normally again and the fake alert should no longer appear
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