Avoid getting scammed by sites claiming Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac"?
"Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" is a fake error message similar to "You Mac May Be Infected By A Virus!", "Critical System Error: x679Qs5m", and many others.
It is delivered by various rogue websites that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) or intrusive ads generated by other rogue sites. Research shows that many PUPs infiltrate systems without users' consent. As well as causing redirects, they deliver intrusive advertisements and gather sensitive information
"Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" scam overview
This error message states that the system is infected and malware must be eliminated immediately. Users are encouraged to contact Apple 'tech support' via a telephone number ("+1-855-634-6777") provided. This is a scam. "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" is fake and Apple has nothing to do with it.
Cyber criminals generate revenue by tricking gullible users into calling fake tech support and paying for services that are not needed - the computer is probably optimized and virus free. Therefore, ignore the "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" error.
It can be removed simply by closing the malicious website, however, note that some of these sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. In these cases, close the browser using Windows Task Manager or simply reboot the system. After re-running the browser, do not restore the previous session, otherwise you will reopen the malicious sites.
Potentially unwanted programs deliver various intrusive advertisements, such as coupons, banners, pop-ups, and so on. These are delivered using tools (e.g., "virtual layers") that enable placement of third party graphical content on any visited website. Therefore, they often conceal underlying website content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience.
Furthermore, intrusive advertisements can redirect to malicious websites and execute scripts that download/install malware. Clicking them risks various computer infections. Another important issue is data tracking. Research shows that potentially unwanted programs are likely to record information relating to browsing habits.
Collected data (IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, keystrokes, and so on) typically includes personal information that PUP developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people generate revenue by misusing sensitive information.
Therefore, data tracking might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. You are strongly advised to uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.
As mentioned above, "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" shares many similarities with dozens of other fake errors. All claim that the system is infected, missing files or damaged in other similar ways, however, these false claims are merely attempts to extort money from unsuspecting users.
PUPs are also known to have many similarities. By offering "useful features", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, potentially unwanted programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers and pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.
How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?
Although some PUPs have official download websites, most infiltrate systems without users' consent, since developers proliferate them using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Developers are not honest enough to adequately disclose PUP installations.
Therefore, most are hidden within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users are likely to skip these steps and click advertisements - behavior that often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs. In this way, users expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent system infiltration by PUPs, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, since developers invest many resources into their design.
In fact, they often lead to dubious websites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc.) If you encounter such ads, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Furthermore, select "Custom/Advanced" settings and carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs.
Opt-out of all additionally-included software and decline offers to download/install it. You are advised to download programs from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue programs, and thus these tools should not be used.
The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with PUPs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" error:
MAC OS is infected with Spyware and other malicious applications.
Spyware must be removed and system damage repaired. It is necessary to Call Apple Support +1-855-635-6777 and follow Virus removal procedure immediately, please proceed.
** If you leave this site your Mac OS will remain damaged and vulnerable**
Traces of (1) Phishing/Spyware were found on your Mac OS X. Personal and banking information are at risk.
Please Call Apple Support +1-855-634-6777
Appearance of "Phishing/Spyware Were Found On Your Mac" scam (GIF):
Instant automatic Mac malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Phishing/Spyware were found on your Mac" virus?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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 macOS.
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 macOS) - 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a pop-up scam?
Pop-up scams are deceptive messages intended to trick users into performing specific actions. For example, victims can be lured into calling fake support lines, allowing cyber criminals to remotely access devices, making monetary transactions, disclosing private data, downloading/installing and/or purchasing software, etc.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Pop-up scams are designed to generate revenue. Scammers primarily profit by obtaining funds through deception, abusing or selling information, promoting software, and proliferating malware.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are run on rogue webpages. Users typically access such sites via redirects caused by pages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
I cannot exit a scam page, how do I close it?
If you cannot close a deceptive site, end the browser's process by using the Activity Monitor. However, it must be stressed that when the browser is opened again - the previous browsing session must not be restored as that will reopen the scam page.
I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?
If you have permitted cyber criminals to access your device, you must first disconnect it from the Internet. Afterward, remove the remote access software the criminals used (e.g., AnyDesk, TeamViewer, etc.) since they may not need your permission to reconnect. Lastly, use an anti-virus to scan the system and remove all detected threats.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a pop-up scam, what should I do?
If you have provided log-in credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed data of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport scans, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the corresponding authorities.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams and the malware they proliferate?
Combo Cleaner is designed to scan visited websites and detect deceptive/malicious ones (including those that promote scams). Additionally, it can restrict all further access to these harmful pages. Combo Cleaner can also detect and eliminate nearly all known malware infections. It must be mentioned that running a full system scan is essential - since sophisticated malicious software typically hides deep within systems.
▼ Show Discussion