Counterfeit Scam


Dear Computer Lady,

My acer computer started acting very oddly, the screen went dark, and various places on the screen said my computer was counterfeit, together with many threats that if I didn’t fix it all kinds of terrible things would happen.

Is this a scam or real?


Dear Julia,

It sounds like you have been infected with some malware.

There are lots of malware infections that try to convince you that something is wrong with your computer, and you need to pay their “company” in order to fix the problem.

I have seen malware that tells you that you are infected, or that you have an illegal copy of Windows, and there is even an “FBI warning” going around recently.

None of these are legitimate, and if you do attempt to pay them, you have just given your credit card information to crooks.

Once you have been infected with these malware programs, it can be a bit tricky to get rid of them. I sometimes have success with Malwarebytes and AVG Internet Security, but these malicious programs can sometimes do so much damage to your computer that the only solution is to backup your files and do a clean install of Windows.


90% of the time when a customer brings me their computer infected with this type of malware, I can get it out without having to do a clean install.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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