How to avoid falling for scams like "CCleaner Total Protection"

Also Known As: CCleaner Total Protection scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "CCleaner Total Protection" pop-up scam?

After a thorough analysis of the page, it became evident that it employs deceitful tactics to mislead visitors into thinking they need to take specific actions to eliminate the purportedly detected viruses. This website displays counterfeit messages and other content with the intention of deluding its users. These fraudulent schemes are commonly referred to as pop-up scams.

CCleaner Total Protection scam

"CCleaner Total Protection" scam in detail

The message displayed on the page informs visitors that their computers are purportedly infected with five viruses. It urgently urges immediate action, stating that their CCleaner subscription has expired, and encourages them to renew it promptly to ensure their PC's protection.

The message goes on to suggest that the viruses detected on the PC could potentially track internet activity to gather sensitive banking information and login credentials. It also emphasizes the heightened vulnerability of unprotected PCs, claiming that they are 93% more likely to be afflicted by malware.

Lastly, the message provides a "Proceed..." option (button) as a call to action for its visitors. It is worth noting that this deceptive warning appears after running a fake system scan. Clicking the "Proceed" button leads to a website promoting CCleaner, a legitimate software application.

It seems that this pop-up scam is orchestrated by affiliate marketers with the intention of earning dishonest commissions. These affiliates employ deceptive tactics to persuade users to buy software through their affiliate links. Their primary goal is to generate revenue through this unethical scheme by exploiting unsuspecting users who fall victim to their ploy.

Another noteworthy aspect of this scam site is that it wants to show notifications. Allowing notifications from such sites could flood devices with a constant stream of unwanted and often deceptive messages, advertisements, or alerts, which can be highly annoying and disruptive.

Some notifications may lead to clickbait links or potentially harmful websites, which could result in the unintentional downloading of malware or the exposure to phishing attempts. Also, these notifications are often part of aggressive marketing tactics designed to drive you towards purchasing products or services you may not need or want.

Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution and carefully consider the implications of allowing notifications from any website, especially if it is questionable.

Threat Summary:
Name CCleaner Total Protection scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A computer is infected with five viruses
Disguise Legitimate aler from CCleaner
Related Domain safeclean[.]site
Detection Names N/A (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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Similar scams in general

Pages displaying deceptive pop-ups, falsely alleging a computer infection, often exhibit common traits: they employ urgent warnings, counterfeit virus scans, and fake tech support numbers while mimicking credible tech companies' appearances, like Microsoft or Apple, to create a sense of legitimacy.

Many also engage in phishing for personal data or financial information, exploiting users' fear and anxiety to manipulate hasty responses. Staying cautious and not engaging with unsolicited pop-ups are vital precautions against these deceptive tactics.

Examples of similar scams are "Security Protection Center", "Avast - Your PC Is Infected With 5 Viruses!", and "YOUR DEVICE MAY BE COMPROMISED".

How did I open a scam website?

Users can inadvertently stumble upon deceptive pages through various channels. One common avenue is when they engage with enticing online advertisements, pop-ups, or banners on dubious sites. These advertisements, designed to captivate attention, often reroute users to scam websites.

Additionally, scammers frequently deploy phishing emails containing links that direct recipients to these fraudulent sites. In some cases, scam websites infiltrate search engine results, masquerading as legitimate web pages, effectively luring users seeking information or services.

Meanwhile, certain websites like torrent platforms, pages claiming to offer YouTube video downloads, unauthorized movie streaming sites, and notifications from dubious sources can all serve as conduits guiding users to these scam pages.

How to avoid visiting scam pages?

Scrutinize the website's URL for authenticity, avoid clicking on suspicious links in unsolicited emails or pop-ups, and refrain from downloading files or software from unverified sources. Rely on trusted search engines and be cautious of questionable search results.

Use reputable antivirus or anti-malware software to help detect and prevent potential threats. Do not allow shady pages to send notifications. Stay well-informed about common online scams and be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true.

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 "CCleaner Total Protection" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of CCleaner Total Protection scam

Text in the fake warning:

CCleaner Total Protection

Your PC is infected with 5 viruses!


Your CCleaner subscription has expired!

Renew now to keep your PC protected.

Viruses found on this PC most likely track internet activity to collect banking details and login credentials. Unprotected PCs are 93% more vulnerable to suffer from malware.


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:
▼ 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.

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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 deceptive online tactic where fraudulent pop-up windows or messages (e.g. fake warnings or error notifications) appear on a user's computer or device, typically while browsing the internet. These pop-ups are intended to lure users into taking certain actions.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

The primary purpose of a pop-up scam is to exploit users' trust, fear, or lack of awareness to achieve financial gain or compromise their personal information or devices.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Fake pop-ups are commonly encountered during internet browsing for various reasons. They can appear due to malicious advertisements, phishing emails, compromised websites, manipulated search results, and unwanted software. It is common for pages that display deceptive pop-ups to be opened via torrent sites, illegal movie streaming platforms, and similar channels.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner is crafted to scan all websites you visit and can identify those with malicious intent. This includes websites designed to perpetrate pop-up scams, and if such a site is encountered, you will receive an immediate warning, and access will be promptly 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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