Avoid being scammed by sites displaying "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)"

Also Known As: ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) tech support scam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam?

"ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" is a technical support scam. At the time of research, this scheme was promoted via the azurewebsites[.]net - Microsoft Azure website-hosting platform. In general, online scams are promoted on various deceptive web pages.

The gist of tech support scams is claiming that users' devices are infected and/or at risk, and urging them to call fake helplines - they then abuse victims' trust. These schemes are often disguised as important messages, warnings or alerts from legitimate companies/service providers.

The "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam is no exception to this and is presented as a warning from Microsoft. In fact, this scheme is in no way associated with the Microsoft Corporation. In many cases, users access deceptive sites via mistyped URLs, redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on their devices.

This software does not need express permission to infiltrate systems, and hence users may be unaware of its presence.

ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) scam

The "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam urges visitors not to ignore this critical warning. Supposedly, if they close the message, access to their devices will be disabled. This course of action will be taken to prevent further damage to the machine, as it has allegedly been infected with "Pornographic Spyware and riskware".

To further alarm users, the scheme claims that the photographs stored on their computers, email and Facebook account log-in credentials (usernames and passwords), and credit card details are currently being stolen.

To stop this alleged process, the scam informs users that they must call the toll-free "Windows helpline" and have "expert engineers" aid them with the malware removal process. The goal of technical support scams is extracting sensitive/personal information from victims and gaining access to their devices.

How scammers achieve their goals often varies. Once they have access to the machines, they can instruct users about how to remove the bogus threats and provide a variety of false information.

They can offer fake anti-virus tools or fraudulent license keys for free programs but, most importantly, scammers can infect the devices with malware (e.g. Trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

The most common choice in malicious software stealthily infiltrated into systems are RATs (Remote Access Trojans), which are used to establish potentially indefinite remote access and control over the device. How scammers obtain private data likewise varies.

They can ask victims to simply provide the information or trick them into believing that it is being submitted privately, via phishing websites or dubious payment gateways (that record entered data), typed onto text editing programs (under the pretence that the scammers cannot see it), and so on.

The main source of revenue for tech support scams are the fees scammers ask victims to pay - these costs tend to be extraordinarily high. Furthermore, the requested currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift-cards, etc.) and/or payment methods tend to be difficult/impossible to trace.

Furthermore, successfully scammed victims are often targeted repeatedly. To summarize, by trusting "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" or other scams, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses and even identity theft.

Deceptive websites can prevent visitors from exiting them by disabling their ability to close the pages. In such cases, Windows Task Manager must be used to end the browser process. Upon reopening the browser, it is important not to restore the previous browsing session, as failing to do so will reopen the scam web page.

PUAs are one of the main causes of rogue redirects to deceptive and otherwise bogus websites, however, these applications can have different functionalities and these capabilities can be in varied combinations. Adware-type PUAs run intrusive advertisement campaigns.

I.e., they deliver various intrusive ads. Once clicked, the delivered ads redirect to untrustworthy and malicious sites, and some can even stealthily download/install software. Browser hijackers are another type of PUA, which make modifications to browser settings and restrict/deny access to them to promote fake search engines.

The promoted web searchers are seldom able to provide search results, and so they tend to redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate search engines. Most PUAs can track data. They can record browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).

The gathered data is then monetized by sharing with and/or selling to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To ensure device integrity and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims users' devices are infected and access to them might be blocked.
Disguise Warning from Microsoft.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-844-279-2314
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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"Windows Error Code: WIN.DLL0151930", "MS-Windows Support Alert", "Important Security Alert!" and "TROJAN Error Code 0xdc2dgewc" are some examples of other tech support scams. The internet is rife with various schemes.

Popular scam models include warnings that the device is infected, alerts that an essential piece of software is outdated, fake prize giveaways and raffles, "amazing" deals, and so on. The sole purpose of these online scams is to generate profit for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them. You are strongly advised to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are often downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

By rushing through download/installation of software (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using "Quick/Express" settings, etc.) many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well.

When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without users' permission. Some PUAs have "official" download web pages from which they can be downloaded.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research all software before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule), and other third party downloaders commonly offer harmful and bundled content, and are therefore untrusted and should be avoided.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious and malicious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).

If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" scam:

** Microsoft Important Warning **
ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)
Please call us immediately at:
+1-844-279-2314 (Toll Free)
Do not ignore this critical warning message.
If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network.
Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Pornographic Spyware and riskware. The following information is being stolen...


1.Facebook Logins
2.Credit Card Details
3.Email Account Logins
4.Photos stored on this computer


You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity and from any kind of identity theft or information loss.
Call Windows : +1-844-279-2314 (Toll Free)

The appearance of "ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3)" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of ERROR # 0xuaO-0x156m(3) scam GIF

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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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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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