Windows Support Alert POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Windows Support Alert" virus
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is Windows Support Alert?

"Windows Support Alert" is another fake error message similar to Microsoft Azure, Google Security Warning, Internet Security Alert, and many others. As with most fake errors, Windows Support Alert is also displayed by a malicious website that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by various potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

Research shows that PUPs typically infiltrate systems without users' consent. In addition to causing redirects, PUPs gather sensitive information, deliver intrusive ads, and, in some cases, misuse system resources.

Windows Support Alert adware

The "Windows Support Alert" error states that the system has detected unusual activity that poses a threat to users' personal data. In addition, this error encourages users to report this activity to a 'technical centre' via the telephone number "+1-855-393-4537". Bear in mind, however, that "Windows Support Alert" is a scam.

Cyber criminals attempt to trick users into calling the telephone number. They are then offered technical services for which they obviously have to pay. "Windows Support Alert" is fake - technical support is not required. Many users end up paying for nothing. Furthermore, these self-proclaimed "certified technicians" often request remote access to users' computers.

They do this to install malware and change system settings, and then claim to "detect" additional issues and offer further help for an extra fee. For these reasons, ignore "Windows Support Alert". This fake error can be removed simply by closing the browser (preferably, using "Task Manager") or rebooting the system.

After re-running the browser, never click "Restore Closed Tabs", otherwise you will reopen the aforementioned malicious website.

As mentioned above, potentially unwanted programs gather information. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, geo-locations, Internet service providers (ISPs), URLs visited, search queries, keystrokes, and other collected data typically includes personal details that PUP developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people generate revenue by misusing private data.

Thus, the presence of data-tracking PUPs can lead to serious privacy issues. Potentially unwanted programs also deliver pop-ups, coupons, banners, and other intrusive ads. To achieve this, they employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads often conceal underlying website content.

Furthermore, intrusive ads can lead to malicious websites and run scripts designed to download/install malware (or other PUPs). Therefore, even a single click might result in high-risk computer infections. Some PUPs run unnecessary background processes.

By misusing system resources to mine cryptocurrencies and run other unwanted processes, PUPs significantly reduce overall system performance. Uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Windows Support Alert" virus
Threat Type Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus
Symptoms Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
Damage Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Research shows that all fake errors are very similar. They claim that the system is infected, missing files, or damaged in other similar ways, however, errors such as "Windows Support Alert" are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users. Potentially unwanted programs also share many similarities.

By offering various "useful features", they often trick users to install, however, once infiltrated, PUPs provide no real value for regular users. They cause redirects, gather information, deliver ads, and misuse system resources, thereby posing a threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Most potentially unwanted programs infiltrate systems without permission. This is due to the lack of knowledge and careless behavior of many users. Intrusive advertisements are typically distributed using the "bundling" method, with a deceptive marketing method called "bundling".

Developers do not disclose installation of "bundled" apps properly - they hide them within various sections (often "Custom/Advanced" settings) of the download/installation processes.

Furthermore, many users rush and skip these procedure steps and click various ads without considering the possible consequences. In doing so, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and especially when downloading/installing software. Cyber criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design. Most appear legitimate, however, these ads redirect to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious sites.

In the case of these redirects, uninstall all suspicious apps/browser add-ons. In addition, carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and decline offers to download/install third party applications.

Text presented in "Windows Support Alert" pop-up:

Windows Support Alert
Your system detected some unusual activity
It might harm your computer data and track your financial activities.
Please report this activity to +1-855-393-4537

The appearance of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up (GIF):

Windows Support Alert scam gif

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" tech support scam pop-up (tech support scammers use the 0800-051-7350 telephone number):

windows support alert tech support scam pop-up appearance variant 2

Yet another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam. The entire text is exactly the same. The only difference is scammers' telephone number ("+61 27 2018 646"):

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam - 2020-01-22

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert pop-up scam (2020-05-15)

Another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam which displays "Error #0x2328-0x2edf" error message:

Windows Support Alert Error #0x2328-0x2edf pop-up scam

Yet another variant of "Windows Support Alert" pop-up scam:

Windows Support Alert POP-UP Scam (2020-07-10)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Windows Support Alert virus QR code
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