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How to recognize scams like PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam

Also Known As: PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam?

It is a message offering to protect a computer displayed by an untrustworthy website. The creators of this page are affiliates seeking to collect illegitimate commissions. Their goal is to trick users into paying for Norton antivirus subscriptions. Norton is legitimate antivirus software. Its developers have nothing to do with affiliates behind this page.

PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam scam

PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam in detail

Typically, websites displaying pop-up scams are promoted using rogue advertising networks. Users do not open them intentionally. This particular page displays a message saying that removing junk files from Windows is recommended to free up memory. The "Continue" button opens a legitimate Norton website.

Scammers behind this website get paid when users purchase a Norton subscription through their page. This website should be ignored, and all purchases should be made directly from legitimate pages and platforms.

Threat Summary:
Name PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A computer should be protected
Disguise Legitimate page
Promoted Software Norton antivirus
Related Domain pernicrolst[.]xyz
Detection Names (pernicrolst[.]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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Pop-up scams in general

In other cases, websites displaying pop-up scams promote software (legitimate or untrustworthy) using scare tactics. They display fake alerts claiming that a computer is infected, damaged, compromised, etc., and it can be solved with certain software.

More examples of pages displaying pop-up scams are "Child Pornography Access Detected", "Your Phone Is Sending SPAM!", "Windows 10 May Be In Danger". In some cases, these scams are promoted through adware or other potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that most users download and install inadvertently.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Users download or install PUAs by clicking on advertisements designed to execute specific scripts, using fake installers downloaded from deceptive pages, or downloading or installing other programs without changing certain settings.

Unwanted apps bundled with other programs can be deselected by unticking checkboxes or in "Custom", "Manual", "Advanced", or other settings available in downloaders and installers. Unwanted downloads and installations can be avoided by changing those settings before downloading and installing programs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Applications (and files) promoted on dubious websites should not be downloaded. It is strongly recommended to use only legitimate sources like official websites for downloading software and files. Advertisements appearing on dubious questionable pages should not be clicked.

Also, programs should not be installed until all additionally included unwanted apps are deselected. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

The appearance of PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of PROTECT YOUR PC! pop-up scam scam

Text in this scam:

PROTECT YOUR PC!
30 December 2021

Do you want to clean Windows after surfing the WEB?

Please note: Over time, junk files accumulate on Windows. It is recommended to delete these files and free up the used memory.

Solution: Install our new antivirus software, the comprehensive utility for your Windows!
Our new antivirus software offers the following functions:
Quickly clean up junk files
Windows garbage collection
Correction of all errors

Continue >>

Instant automatic 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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

A pop-up scam is a fake message (fake virus alert or another notification) designed to trick users into performing certain actions. Usually, a pop-up scam encourages to call the provided number and (or) download and install certain software.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Usually, pop-up scams are used to trick users into installing malware or other unwanted software, providing personal information, or granting remote access to a computer.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

These pop-ups are displayed by deceptive websites that get opened by present malicious applications or visited websites using questionable advertising networks.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner can scan websites and detect malicious ones. Pages displaying pop-up scams also fall under this category. Therefore, Combo Cleaner will warn you and restrict access to malicious pages.

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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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