Ignore the Microsoft Security Essentials Alert fake warning

Also Known As: Microsoft Security Essentials Alert pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is Microsoft Security Essentials Alert?

Typically, technical support scam websites display fake error messages or virus alerts to trick visitors into calling the provided number to receive support. Scammers behind tech-support scams attempt to trick unsuspecting users into paying for unnecessary or even fake software and services.

Commonly, scammers ask users to provide remote access to their computers as well. You should ignore these scams - none of the legitimate error (or other) messages from Microsoft include telephone numbers or encourage users to call.

Technical support scam websites are promoted through deceptive advertisements, other untrusted websites, and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). I.e., users do not often visit these pages intentionally.

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert scam

This scam website displays fake error and virus messages/warning claiming that a computer is blocked due to unusual activity, and it is infected with spyware and another virus. These fake messages also claim that the following data has been stolen: Facebook and email login credentials, credit card details, photos and documents stored on the computer.

The messages urge users to call the +1-888-489-4626 number in order to receive help with removal of detected malware and errors. In most cases, users who fall for these scams and call the provided number are asked for permission to remotely access their computers.

When scammers gain access to computers, they try to trick users into installing malicious software (e.g., ransomware, cryptocurrency miner, information stealers), or they try to convince users to pay for fake or unnecessary software or pay for removal of issues that do not exist.

Scammers try to trick users into installing software that steals credit card details, login credentials (such as usernames, email addresses, passwords), or other sensitive information, which can then be monetized via unauthorized purchases and transactions, or in other ways.

In summary, scammers behind tech-support scams try to trick users into infecting their computers with malware, providing sensitive information, or paying for software or services.

Scam websites are often opened by PUAs, which can also gather various data and generate advertisements. Most PUAs can access Internet Protocol addresses, URLs of visited websites, entered search queries, geolocations, and other browsing data. In some cases, they can access sensitive information (e.g., passwords, credit card details).

They are also monetized by designing them to generate coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and other advertisements. These ads promote dubious pages or distributing unwanted software.

Users with apps of this type installed on their browsers or computers should remove them immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Microsoft Security Essentials Alert pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Computer is blocked, infected, personal information has been stolen
Disguise Microsoft website
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-888-489-4626, +1-888-448-6668
Related Domain batedoc[.]xyz, serifis[.]icu
Detection Names (batedoc[.]xyz) Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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)

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There are many technical support scams on the internet, however, most are similar: they display fake warning messages claiming that the computer is blocked and infected and urge users to call a number (contact the scammers).

Some examples of similar scam sites are "Suspicious Movement Distinguished On You IP", "WARNING CRITICAL MESSAGE", and "Error code # MS-6F0EXFE". If these pages are opened by browsers, check your system for unwanted software and remove it.

To avoid these websites, do not click dubious ads or visit other untrusted pages.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Unwanted downloads and installations often occur when developers distribute PUAs by integrating them into the download/installation setups of other programs as "extra offers". This distribution method is known as "bundling". The offers can be declined in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the setups (or by unticking certain checkboxes).

Many users fail to check and change these settings (or untick the checkboxes), thereby allowing PUAs to infiltrate together with the desired software.

PUAs are also downloaded and installed by clicking deceptive advertisements (usually on untrusted sites) that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Download software and files from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, unofficial websites or other sources of this kind.

Avoid third party installers. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings, and decline offers to download or install unwanted software. Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious websites, since they can open other untrusted websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations.

Remove any unwanted, suspicious applications (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) that are installed on the browser. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system.

Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep this software up to date.

If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Technical support scam page in a GIF image:

microsoft security essentials alert pop-up scam appearance

Text in the pop-up window:

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert !!
Why we blocked your computer?

Your System Detected Some Unusual Activity.

Call Helpline +1-888-489-4626 (Toll Free)
Get Helpline Call    Fix Issue Now

Text in the second pop-up (in the background):

Activation Security Warning:
** Microsoft-Security-Essentials Alert**

ERROR #0xCD04FD037

Please call us immediately at: +1-888-489-4626  (Microsoft  Toll Free)
Do not ignore this critical alert.
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  virus. The following information is being stolen:

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

Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.

Microsoft Toll Free: +1-888-489-4626

Text in the page:

** Microsoft-Security-Essentials Alert **
ERROR #0xCD04FD037
Please call  us immediately at:
+1-888-489-4626 (Toll Free)
Do not ignore this critical alert.
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 virus. The following information is being stolen:

1.Facebook  Logins
2.Credit  Card  Details
3.Email  Account  Logins
4.Photos and documents  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. Please call us within the next  5 minutes to prevent your  computer from being disabled or from any information loss.

Call-Microsoft-Security-Helpline +1-888-489-4626 (Toll FREE)

Prevent this page from creating  additional dialogues.
Leave Page Now
Security Toll Free +1-888-489-4626
Error-Logged at: Fri Mar 5 2021 08:07am
Call Helpline +1-888-489-4626

Another variant of "Microsoft Security Essentials Alert" pop-up scam:

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert pop-up scam (2021-03-10)

Text presented within:

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert !!
Why we blocked your computer?
Your System Detected Some Unusual Activity.
Call Helpline +1-888-448-6668 (Toll Free)
[Get Helpline Call]

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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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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