Attorney General Lockyer Alerts Consumers About How to Rid Their Home Computers of Pop-up Ads

Posts Tips on Attorney General's Web Site

Thursday, November 6, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today made available on his web site information to help consumers rid their home computers of annoying pop-up ads.

"Pop-up advertising is the new generation of spam, and these ads are proliferating at an astonishing rate,' said Lockyer. 'It has become almost impossible to use a computer without being bombarded by these unsolicited come-ons, some of which tout software to eliminate pop-up ads. Even those who have successfully blocked spam emails have not escaped this latest high-tech intrusion into our homes.'

To help Californians protect themselves against pop-ups, Lockyer posted information that also was released today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC alert advises consumers on how to use two tools to eliminate pop-up ads from their home computers: disabling the Windows Messenger Service or installing a firewall.

Disabling the Windows Messenger Service is easy. Click Start, and then click Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel). Double-click Administrative Tools. Double-click Services. Double-click Messenger. In the Startup type list, click Disabled. Click Stop, and then click OK. Consumer should note that disabling the Windows Messenger Service may not be practical for computers connected to a home or business network.

Firewalls provide the benefit of preventing not just pop-up ads, but any unauthorized access. Some new operating systems, including Windows XP, have built-in firewalls, but they may not be activated. Consumers can find out how to set up built-in firewalls by consulting their online 'Help' feature. Consumers whose operating systems do not have built-in firewalls can obtain free software programs on the Internet.

Consumers can file a complaint about a deceptive pop-up ad by using the Attorney General's online complaint form at http://www.ag.ca.gov/consumers/mailform.htm or by writing to the Attorney General's Public Inquiry Unit at P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550. Consumers also can use the FTC's online complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov .

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