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How to spot scams like Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft.

Also Known As: Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft technical support scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft."?

We have encountered this scam while clicking on shady ads and visiting untrustworthy pages that use rogue advertising networks. After examining this pop-up scam, we learned that its purpose is to trick visitors into calling scammers. We also found that this page is hosted using the AmazonAWS service.

Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft scam

"Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft." scam in detail

While analyzing the page, we found that it displays several pop-ups claiming that access to a computer is blocked because it is infected with pornographic spyware. It also runs a fake system scan and encourages visitors to call the 1 (866) 584 1130 number (supposedly the Microsoft support/technicians) to solve the problem.

When scammers behind tech-support scams encourage visitors to call a specific number, their goal is to obtain remote access to computers, extract sensitive information, infect computers with malware, and (or) trick visitors into paying money for fake/unnecessary software, services.

Threat Summary:
Name Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft technical support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Access to computer is blocked. A computer is infected with spyware
Disguise Notification from Windows
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number 1 (866) 584 1130
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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Technical support scams in general

Most technical support scams offer a fake technical support service. They display deceptive pop-ups or other messages disguised as legitimate notifications/warnings from Windows or Microsoft (or another software company). More examples of similar scams are "Pornography Warning Error", "Firewall Error: #ST43400X", "Pornographic Spyware Alert".

How did I open a scam website

The most commonly used methods to trick users into visiting pages delivering pop-up scams are to use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, shady websites. Users end up on these scam sites after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent site, clicking on an Internet search engine result, or a deceptive advertisement.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Avoid visiting torrent, illegal streaming, and similar sites. Do not click on advertisements and fake "Download" buttons that questionable websites have on them. Use official pages and direct links as sources for downloading files and apps (avoid using other sources). Do not trust browser notifications coming from dubious pages.

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

The appearance of "Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft." pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft scam

Text in one of the pop-ups:

Do not restart or use your computer.

Your computer is disabled. Please call Microsoft.

Access is the block security reason for this computer.

Please contact us immediately. A technician will help you solve the problem.

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:
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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

A pop-up scam is a fake/deceptive message displayed by an untrustworthy website. Usually, it claims that a computer is infected, compromised, damaged, etc.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Scammers use pop-up scams to trick unsuspecting users into infecting their computers, purchasing unnecessary (or fake) software/services, providing personal information, or granting remote access to computers.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Most pop-up scams are displayed by websites that get opened through fake "Download" buttons, deceptive advertisements, websites that use rogue advertising networks. In some cases, pop-up scams are delivered through installed adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner will notify about untrustworthy pages and restrict access to them. This application can scan visited pages and detect malicious ones (including sites displaying pop-up scams).

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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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