Just to be clear, the message is fake.
If you see a pop-up warning while browsing the internet that says Google Chrome Critical Error! in red upon a white backdrop inside a larger red field, you are being targeted with a scam. The message says a lot of things to express the urgency of the matter and tells you that your internet banking credentials might be stolen if you do not act fast. It is a scam.
The goal of the scammers here is to scare you into clicking on something on the page. And they are very smart, mind you. They know that you have read about these things, and you might be aware that these messages are usually scandalous. They assume that your reaction to the message would be to close it as fast as possible and maybe then research a bit about it or talk to someone about it. That is the reaction they are hoping for.
Do not click on the x button
I know, it is the most obvious reaction. But please, do not. Although you think you are clicking on a cross button, you must remember, the cross button was put on the message by the scammers who are trying to steal from you. Do you really think they would serve you such a nice and easy way to get rid of the scam? Right answer.
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What could happen if you did click on the cross?
Well, it’s hard to be certain. Maybe you are granting them permission to show more ads. Nonetheless, the idea is that something is hidden under that cross button and you do not want to click on that.
End the process
This is how you get out of the situation. Hit [ctrl]+[shift]+[esc] to access the Task Manager on Windows. Select Google Chrome and click on End Process.
This will close Chrome and all the processes running on it.
When you reopen Chrome, do not restore the pages as the browser might recall the scammy pop-up.
If your browser is set up in a way that it automatically recalls the last homepage, quickly click on the bookmark tab to redirect there.
Clear the browser cache
Your browser stores data from the pages you visit, it may also store cookies. You do not want any data from the scam to be stored in the caches. So it’s a good idea to clear the caches after you reopen Chrome.
Click on the three vertical dots in the top right corner of your browser window. Select More tools from the drop-down menu and select Clear browsing data. This will open another window. Check the boxes for browsing history, cached images and files, and cookies and site data.
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Run a virus scan
Although you have averted the scam initially. You do not know if it has already infected your PC with malware. It is a good idea to run a virus scan with Windows Defender Firewall or any antivirus of your choice.
You may find many scams like this while browsing the internet with Chrome or with any other browser. The key is to stay calm and not click on anything on that page. You’ll find a distinctive difference in the tone used in real messages by Chrome and scams like these – scammers try to effect a forced sense of urgency which is very easy to recognize. Stay aware, browse safe.