While browsing websites on your smartphone, you suddenly get a suspicious pop-up message that reads, “Congratulations! You’ve got a chance to win a $1,000 gift card or a new phone.”
If it seems as though you’re seeing a lot of them lately, you aren’t alone.
Todd Fox said he's been inundated with them while using his phone at his job at Game Swap in Kettering.
“It’s unbelievably irritating,” said Fox, “I started noticing them about a year ago, but definitely in the last three months. It’s a problem.”
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The increase in intrusive pop-up phone ads has to do with online advertising, according to Gayle Jenkins, owner of DNA Computers in Kettering.
“Because we are at the beginning of the year and a lot of major advertising aren’t advertising as much as they normally do so we have a lot of smaller companies advertising,” said Jenkins.
These browser-hijacking pop-up ads slip in through those smaller companies, she said.
So what should you do when you see one?
First, don't click on it -- you aren't a winner and you will be asked to divulge personal information.
iPhone users should close the browser and select “clear history and website data" under Safari browser settings.
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If you encounter another pop-up ad, you will have to repeat the process.
Android users should use site settings to disable pop-ups.
There are several ad blocker apps, but these can also block content that you are actually trying to view, said Jenkins.