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How to spot technical support scams and avoid harm caused through them

Also Known As: Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities"?

Our team has discovered this technical support scam page while examining websites that use rogue advertising networks and have deceptive ads on them. We learned that the purpose of this page is to scare visitors into calling the provided number (into contacting scammers for fake technical support).

Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities scam

"Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities" scam in detail

While analyzing this scam page, we encountered several pop-up windows claiming that a computer is infected and access to it is blocked due to illegal activities. The page itself is disguised as a legitimate Microsoft website. Its purpose is to trick visitors into calling the +1-866-990-1195 number, a fake security helpline.

Typically, scammers use technical support scams like this one to trick unsuspecting users into providing sensitive information, paying for fake (or unnecessary) services/products, downloading and executing malware, or providing remote access to a computer. This and similar scams must be ignored.

Threat Summary:
Name Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Computer is infected/access to a computer is blocked
Disguise Official Microsoft page
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-866-990-1195
Related Domain bbsssw[.]tk
Detection Names (bbsssw[.]tk) ESET (Malware), 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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Technical support scams in general

Technical support scam websites run fake virus scans, display fake error, virus alerts, or other notifications claiming that a computer is compromised, infected, or damaged in another way. Usually, these pages are disguised as official Microsoft, Apple, or other sites and display a number to trick visitors into calling scammers.

More examples of similar scams are "Your Computer Is Disabled. Please Call Microsoft.", "Alert! Windows-11 Can Not Update", "Pornography Warning Error". As a rule, these pages get opened/visited unintentionally.

How did I open a scam website

Websites displaying pop-up scams (fake error, virus, and similar warnings/alerts) are promoted using deceptive advertisements, fake "Download" buttons on shady websites. Also, they are promoted using search engine poisoning techniques, various illegal movie streaming, torrent, and similar sites. In all cases, users open do not open them on purpose.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Do not visit illegal movie streaming sites and other pages that use rogue advertising networks. Download apps and files from legitimate (official) websites. Avoid opening downloads from other sources such as unofficial pages, third-part downloaders, P2P networks, and so on. Also, do not click on ads displayed on questionable 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 "Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities scam

Text in a pop-up displayed by this page:

Microsoft Defender Security Center
App: Ads.fiancetrack(2).dll
Threat_Detected: Trojan_Spyware

Access to this PC has been blocked for due to illegal activities.
Contact Microsoft Support: +1-866-990-1195(Security Helpline)

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 type of scam displayed by a page designed to trick visitors into performing certain actions (for example, calling the provided number).

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

In most cases, pop-up scams are used to distribute malware, extract sensitive information, obtain remote access to computers.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are delivered by malicious websites. Those websites are promoted via malicious applications, other pages that use questionable advertising networks, deceptive ads. Sometimes, they are promoted using search engine poisoning techniques.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner will scan visited websites and detect malicious ones. Including pages designed to display fake pop-ups. Also, it will restrict access to such 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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