How to spot scams like the "1978 Act Of Protection Of Children" pop-up scam

Also Known As: 1978 Act Of Protection Of Children technical support scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "1978 Act Of Protection Of Children" pop-up scam?

It is a fake message displayed by a deceptive website designed to trick visitors into calling a fake technical support number. The website running this scam is disguised as a legitimate Microsoft site. Scammers behind it may try to extract personal information or money or use it for other malicious purposes. We discovered this scam site while inspecting other shady pages.

1978 Act Of Protection Of Children scam

"1978 Act Of Protection Of Children" scam in detail

This scam site displays a fake antivirus scanner that "detects" malware and claims that access to a computer has been blocked for security reasons. It urges visitors to contact Windows Support (call +1-888-205-1635 number).

It also shows a fake Windows Defender security warning claiming that your IP address has been trying to access child pornography on the dark web. That warning message also claims that the detected threat can steal passwords, online identity, financial information, pictures, or documents.

The purpose of this scam page (technical support scam website) is to trick visitors into calling the provided number. Once contacted, scammers may ask to provide sensitive information (e.g., credit card details), purchase unnecessary software products, or pay for technical support.

Also, scammers use such scams to trick unsuspecting users into providing them remote access to their computers. In such cases, scammers aim to steal sensitive information or inject malware (e.g., ransomware or crypto-mining malware). They can also use accessed computers for other malicious purposes.

Examples of scams where scammers use legitimate remote administration tools to obtain access to computers are these: "UltraViewer Tech Support Scam", "TeamViewer Scam", and "ScreenConnect (ConnectWise) Client scam"

Threat Summary:
Name 1978 Act Of Protection Of Children technical support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Computer is infected with malware
Disguise Warning from Windows Defender
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-888-205-1635
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)

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Similar scams in general

Most technical-support scam websites display fake error or virus warnings (or other deceptive messages) to trick visitors into calling fake numbers (contacting scammers). Those warnings usually are disguised as notifications from legitimate pages or the operating system. Users do not normally visit technical support scam pages on purpose.

Examples of similar scams are "Your Windows Got Corrupted Due To Virus", "Pirated Windows Software Detected In This Computer", and "DRIDEX..Malware detected - Error Code: DXRW2:#19X80XD".

How did I open a scam website

In most cases, users open technical support and other scam websites via notifications from untrustworthy websites or shady advertisements. Also, these pages can be opened via websites that use rogue advertising networks (e.g., illegal movie streaming pages, torrent sites, and adult sites). In other cases, such pages get opened by installed adware.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Do not trust ads on questionable pages or allow websites of this kind to show notifications. Download apps from official pages and stores only. Avoid visiting illegal movie streaming, torrent sites, and other pages of this kind. Remove suspicious apps from your web browser and computer.

Always check downloaders and installers for unwanted apps and deselect them before downloading and installing software (especially freeware). 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 "1978 Act Of Protection Of Children" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of 1978 Act Of Protection Of Children scam

Text presented in this scam:

Windows-Defender - Security Warning


Violation of the USA Govt Act "1978 Act of protection of children" and "Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994". Your IP address has been trying to access Child Pornography on dark web.

> Email Credentials
> Banking Passwords
> Facebook Login
> Pictures & Documents

Windows-Defender Scan has found potentially unwanted Adware on this device that can steal your passwords, online identity, financial information, personal files, pictures or documents.

You must contact us immediately so that our engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone.

Call Microsoft Support immediately to report this threat, prevent identity theft and unlock access to this device.

Closing this window will put your personal information at risk and lead to a suspension of your Windows Registration.

Call Microsoft Support: +1-888-205-1635 (Security Helpline)

OK Cancel

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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?

It is a fake message or messages (e.g., virus alert, error notification) displayed by a deceptive website.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Scammers use websites running pop-up scams to trick visitors into paying for fake or unnecessary products or services, downloading and executing malware, providing remote access to computers, providing sensitive information, etc.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pages showing fake pop-ups get opened via adult pages, torrent sites, illegal movie streaming websites, and other pages that use rogue advertising networks. Ads on dubious websites and notifications from such pages can open various scam websites too. Sometimes, pop-up scams are promoted via adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner will scan visited websites and detect malicious ones, including pages designed to show fake pop-up messages. Thus, this app will warn you about shady pages and restrict access to them.

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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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