What kind of scam is "McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses!"?
Our team has discovered this scam while visiting pages that use shady advertising networks. After examining the page, we learned that it is a pop-up scam that uses a scare tactic to promote antivirus software (to trick users into purchasing its subscription). It claims that a computer is infected with viruses.
"McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses!" scam in detail
This deceptive page runs a fake system scan and shows fake detections (at the time of the research, it "detected" five threats). It also claims that the McAfee Total Protection subscription may be expired, and urges to renew it. McAfee is a legitimate computer security software company. It has nothing to do with this scam.
We have concluded that the purpose of this scam is to trick unsuspecting users into purchasing a McAfee Total Protection subscription. Scammers use an affiliate program to collect illegitimate commissions from purchases made through their deceptive page.
|Name||McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses! scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||A computer might be infected with viruses|
|Disguise||Security notification from McAfee|
|Detection Names (zoomstreakstream[.]com)||Avira (Phishing), Emsisoft (Phishing), Netcraft (Malicious), 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.
Scams of this type in general
Typically, websites displaying pop-up scams are disguised as legitimate software (or other) company websites. A big part of them uses scare tactics to trick visitors into purchasing subscriptions, calling the provided numbers, etc.
Examples of similar scams are "Kaspersky - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", "TROJAN Zeus2021 Spyware Adware Detected", "Your Windows 10 Is Infected With Viruses". It is important to know that scammers can use such pages to distribute malware, extract sensitive information, and other purposes.
How did I open a scam website
In most cases, websites designed to display pop-up scams get opened through shady advertisements and other untrustworthy pages (for example, illegal movie streaming pages, torrent sites). Also, they get opened through links promoted using search engine poisoning techniques or installed untrustworthy applications. In all cases, users open them unintentionally.
How to avoid visiting scam pages?
Do not visit shady websites or download files and programs from them. Always use official pages (or platforms) and direct links as sources for downloading software and files. Do not trust advertisements or click fake "Download" (or similar) buttons displayed on questionable pages.
Check downloaders and installers for unwanted apps (and deselect them) before downloading or installing programs. 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 "McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses! scam" pop-up scam (GIF):
Text in the pop-up window:
McAfee Total Protection
Your PC might be infected with viruses!
Your McAfee Total Protection Subscription might Expired!
Renew now to keep your pc protected.
If your PC is unprotected, might be at risk for viruses and other malware.
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:
- What is McAfee Total Protection - Your PC might be infected with viruses! scam?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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 message displayed by a deceptive website. Scammers use pop-up scams to trick visitors into performing certain actions. They often use scare tactics.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
In most cases, it is used to exctract money or sensitive information (or both), distribute malicious software, obtain remote access to a computer, or coillect illegitimate commisions.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are delivered by websites that usually get opened by present malicious applications or sites that use questionable advertising networks. Also, these pages can be promoted using website notifications, search engine poisoning techniques.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner will scan visited websites and warn you about untrustworthy pages. Also, it will restrict access to such websites.