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Avoid getting scammed by the fake protectpcscan.com website

Also Known As: protectpcscan.com scam website
Damage level: Medium

What kind of page is protectpcscan[.]com?

While inspecting untrustworthy websites, our researchers discovered the protectpcscan[.]com scam site. It is a fake McAfee website. This fraudulent page is presented as the "official" site of McAfee anti-virus. It must be emphasized that this scam webpage is in no way associated with the McAfee Corp. or its products.

protectpcscan[.]com scam

Protectpcscan[.]com overview

When we inspected the protectpcscan[.]com site, it appeared virtually identical to the legitimate McAfee website (mcafee.com).

The buttons/links presented on protectpcscan[.]com did not work during our inspection. Our experience in analyzing online scams allows us to conclude that there are two primary purposes of such fake sites.

It is possible that the fraudulent webpage promotes the actual McAfee anti-virus, but this promotion is not undertaken with the developers' approval. Scammers often abuse the affiliate programs of genuine products - in order to obtain illegitimate commissions.

However, deceptive websites are more commonly used to proliferate unreliable and malicious software. For example, online scams can endorse fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and various PUAs. We have also observed scam sites spreading trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

To summarize, via websites like protectpcscan[.]com - users may experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name protectpcscan.com scam website
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Disguise Scam site is presented as the official McAfee website.
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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Online scam examples

It is especially common for online scams to use the names and graphics associated with legitimate products, companies, services, and similar. We have analyzed countless scams of this kind; "MICROSOFT WINDOWS With Pre-installed Mcafee", "Keep Your PC Updated With Norton!", "McAfee Total Protection has expired", "Mcafee - Security Warning", and "Kaspersky - Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!" are merely some examples.

How did I open a scam website?

Scam sites are seldom accessed intentionally. When webpages that use rogue advertising networks are entered, they can force-open deceptive websites. Alternatively, rogue pages can cause redirects to such sites when hosted content is interacted with (e.g., clicking buttons, links, ads, etc.).

Misspelling a website's domain (URL) can also result in a redirect to a deceptive site. Intrusive advertisements and spam browser notifications promote online scams as well. Furthermore, adware can display ads endorsing deceptive content and/or force-open scam pages.

How to avoid visiting scam websites?

Scam websites are primarily entered through redirects caused by pages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive adverts, or installed adware.

We strongly advise exercising caution when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content (e.g., sites, ads, apps, etc.) typically appear harmless. Furthermore, visiting/using websites that offer pirated software/media or other questionable services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming/downloading, etc.) is ill-advised - as they are usually monetized via rogue advertising networks.

Additionally, we recommend being careful when entering URLs. To avoid receiving deceptive browser notifications, do not permit dubious webpages to display them (i.e., do not click "Allow", "Allow Notifications", etc.). Instead, ignore or deny notification delivery (i.e., select "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).

We also advise downloading from official/verified sources and approaching installation with caution - to avoid allowing unreliable/harmful software into the system. If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.

Appearance of the protectpcscan[.]com scam website (GIF):

Appearance of protectpcscan[.]com scam site (GIF)

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?

Pop-up scams are designed to deceive users into performing certain actions. For example, victims can be tricked into downloading/installing and/or purchasing software, making monetary transactions, calling fake support lines, disclosing private data, etc.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams are used by cyber criminals to generate revenue. Scammers can profit by obtaining funds through deception, promoting software, proliferating malware, abusing or selling sensitive data, and so on.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are promoted on deceptive websites. Users typically access these pages via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, sites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, or installed adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner is designed to scan every single website you visit and it can detect deceptive/malicious ones (including those that run scams). Therefore, if you enter such a webpage - you will be immediately warned, and further access will be restricted.

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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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