What is "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses"?
"Your phone is severly damaged by viruses" is a scam that our research team discovered while inspecting rogue websites. It claims that the visitor's mobile device has suffered damage from viruses and urges them to renew their McAfee anti-virus subscription.
It must be emphasized that all these claims are false, and the actual McAfee Corp. is in no way associated with this scam.
"Your phone is severly damaged by viruses" scam overview
We were presented with a pop-up window against a semi-transparent red background - when we accessed a webpage promoting this scam. The text in the pop-up made the titular statement "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses", and proceeded to claim that the visitor's McAfee anti-virus subscription had expired.
The scam reassured that the user could protect their phone from viruses and other threats by renewing the subscription. The background page provided details of the nonexistent infection.
As mentioned in the introduction, these statements are untrue. Furthermore, no website can detect threats present on a visitor's device - regardless of whether they include the names of genuine products/companies. Scammers often incorporate names and graphics associated with legitimate companies, thus increasing the believability of their schemes.
Usually, scams like "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses" are used to endorse unreliable/harmful software, e.g., fake anti-viruses, browser hijackers, adware, and various PUAs. We have even observed instances of such scams being employed to distribute trojans, ransomware, and other malware.
In rare cases, scams redirect to the official sites of the legitimate software they promote. This promotion is undertaken by abusing affiliate programs to acquire illegitimate commissions; hence, the product is pushed by scammers - not its developers, and it is done without their approval.
To summarize, by trusting scams like "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses", users may experience system infections, financial losses, severe privacy issues, and even identity theft.
|Your phone is severly damaged by viruses pop-up
|Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
|Mobile device is infected with viruses, anti-virus subscription has expired.
|McAfee subscription alert.
|Detection Names (antivirussolution[.]net)
|Serving IP Address (antivirussolution[.]net)
|Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
|Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
|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.
Similar scam examples
We have analyzed thousands of scams; "Mcafee - Security Warning", "Windows Firewall Protection - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!", and "Your antivirus protection has expired" are just a few examples of those akin to "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses".
The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. Various scam models are used to gain and abuse users' trust. Therefore, we strongly advise caution when browsing.
How did I open a scam website?
Scam sites are seldom accessed intentionally. Webpages that use rogue advertising networks can push these pages by force-opening them the moment users enter the rogue site or by redirecting to them when hosted content (e.g., buttons, links, ads, etc.) is interacted with (i.e., clicked).
Intrusive ads and spam browser notifications are also known to promote deceptive websites. Adware can endorse scams by displaying intrusive advertisements or by causing the browser to randomly open scam sites.
Additionally, mistyping a webpage address (URL) can result in a redirect (or redirection chain) landing on a deceptive website.
How to avoid visiting scam websites?
Online scams are primarily promoted through webpages that use rogue advertising networks, intrusive adverts, spam browser notifications, and adware.
We advise against using sites that offer pirated content or other questionable services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming and downloading, etc.) since they commonly use rogue advertising networks.
If you access a suspicious website, do not give it permission to display browser notifications (i.e., do not click "Allow", "Allow Notifications", or similar options). Instead, ignore or deny notification deliver requests (i.e., click "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).
We recommend downloading only from official/verified sources and exercising caution with installation processes - to avoid installing adware or other unwanted software.
If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.
Text presented in "Your phone is severly damaged by viruses" scam pop-up:
Your phone is severly damaged by viruses
Your subscription to McAfee antivirus has expired
Renew your antivirus immediately to keep your phone protected
Your phone is unprotected and exposed to viruses and other threats
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:
- What is Your phone is severly damaged by viruses pop-up?
- 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?
Pop-up scams are deceptive messages that aim to bait users into performing specific actions. For example, users can be tricked into downloading/installing (likely untrustworthy or malicious) software, disclosing private data, making monetary transactions (bogus purchases, fees, etc.), calling fake helplines, allowing scammers remote access to their device, and so on.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
Practically all scams aim to generate revenue at victims' expense. Cyber criminals may profit by receiving (likely illegitimate) commissions for software/product promotion, abusing or selling personal information, obtaining funds through deception, proliferating malware, etc.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are run on various rogue webpages. Most users enter such sites via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, pages using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning visited websites and detecting rogue, deceptive, and malicious ones (including those promoting pop-up scams). Additionally, Combo Cleaner can restrict further access to such sites.