Avoid getting scammed by fake "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" sites

Also Known As: "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" tech support scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started"?

Our research team discovered the "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" technical support scam while browsing suspicious sites. It is disguised as a Microsoft website that performs a system scan, detects various threats, and initiates a junk file deletion process. Users are continuously urged to call "Windows Support".

It must be stressed that all the information provided by this scam is false, and this deceptive content is not associated with any legitimate entities.

Temporary Files Deletion Have Started scam

"Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" scam overview

When a page running "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" is accessed, it presents the visitor with a fake Microsoft website. The webpage is covered with multiple pop-ups. The first window is a hoax system scan that detects numerous viruses and other threats on the user's device. Several pop-ups detail the issues and claim that the visitor's computer has been blocked for security reasons.

The topmost pop-ups concern a fraudulent process of temporary file deletion. The user is warned not to interact with their device, or else they risk permanent file deletion. The visitor is encouraged to call "Windows Support" and get assistance from a technician to halt the automatic file deletion.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" are false, and this scam is in no way associated with Windows or Microsoft. In fact, no webpage can detect threats or issues on visitors' devices.

Tech support scams rely on victims calling the scammers, who pretend to be "Microsoft-certified technicians", "Windows support", "expert technicians", etc. How the scheme progresses from that point on may vary. However, these scams pose a variety of significant threats ranging from genuine malware infections to identity theft.

Threats posed by tech support scammers

Technical support scams can take place entirely over the phone. The fake "technicians" can deceive callers into downloading/installing malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.), making monetary transactions, disclosing private data, or performing other activities.

In most cases, these schemes involve remote access. Typically, cyber criminals connect to victims' devices with the assistance of legitimate remote access software (e.g., UltraViewer, TeamViewer, etc.).

Once connected, scammers pretend to offer support/technical services while performing decoy activities or carrying out malicious operations. The criminals can disable/remove genuine security tools, install fake anti-viruses, infiltrate malware, facilitate fraudulent transactions, or acquire highly sensitive information.

Victims can be deceived into disclosing data over the phone or entering it into phishing sites/files. Information can also be acquired using data-stealing malware.

Targeted data includes log-in credentials of various accounts (e.g., emails, social networking, e-commerce, money transferring, digital wallets, online banking, etc.), personally identifiable information (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, etc.), and finance-related data (e.g., bank account details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.).

Tech support scammers do not break character and continue the pretense of offering real services, which carry exorbitant fees. Difficult-to-trace methods are used for acquiring funds, e.g., digital currencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, cash hidden in packages and shipped, etc.

By relying on such methods, cyber criminals diminish the chances of prosecution and money retrieval. Successfully scammed victims are often targeted repeatedly.

To summarize, by trusting a scam like "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If it is impossible to close a deceptive webpage – end the browser's process using Task Manager. Note that restoring the previous browsing session will reopen the scam page; therefore, start a new session after relaunching the browser.

If you have allowed scammers to access your device remotely – you must first disconnect it from the Internet. Afterward, uninstall the remote access program used since the cyber criminals may not need your consent to reconnect. Lastly, perform a full system scan with a reputable anti-virus and remove all threats.

If you have provided your log-in credentials to scammers – change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support. However, if the disclosed data was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" tech support scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim User's device is infected and blocked; the site is performing a deletion process of temporary files.
Disguise Microsoft
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1 866-651-3831, +1-848-272-3204
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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Technical support scam examples

We have inspected thousands of online scams; "Error: Ox800VDS", "Threat Detected: xxbc Detected", "Windows Defender Firewall Alert", and "Microsoft Windows Firewall Warning" are just a few examples of tech support scams.

The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. Aside from schemes using claims regarding system issues, other common ones include those relating to outdated software, account problems, refunds, giveaways, product promotions, etc.

Keep in mind that while scams are often riddled with various mistakes, they may also be competently made and even believably disguised as content associated with real companies, service providers, authorities, and other entities.

How did I open a scam website?

Deceptive websites are primarily promoted via links/attachments in spam (e.g., emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, social media posts, browser notifications, etc.) and redirects generated by pages using rogue advertising networks, misspelled URLs, intrusive ads, and adware.

How to avoid visiting scam websites?

Fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and innocuous. For example, intrusive advertisements and spam browser notifications may look harmless – yet redirect users to highly questionable pages (e.g., scam-promoting, pornography, gambling, adult dating, etc.).

Therefore, we recommend vigilance when browsing. Pay attention to URLs and type them carefully. Be selective about which sites you permit to display browser notifications; do not enable suspicious ones to do so, and instead ignore or deny such requests (i.e., press "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).

We advise against using websites that host pirated programs/media or offer other dubious services (e.g., illegal streaming/downloading, Torrenting, etc.), as these webpages are typically monetized via rogue advertising networks. Additionally, exercise caution with incoming emails/messages and do not open attachments/links found in suspect mail.

To prevent bundled/harmful software from infiltrating the system – download only from official/verified channels and treat installations with care (e.g., read terms, explore options, use "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt out of supplementary apps, extensions, features, etc.).

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 "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" pop-up:

Temporary Files deletion have started. Do not touch or use the machine because that may result to permanent files deletion.

We understand it annoys you, but it is for your own safety. Please contact us immediately. A technician will help you solve the problem.

If you are the Owner of the Windows Activation Keys report immediately to Windows Support: +1 866-651-3831 (Toll Free) to halt the auto-deletion of files and application from this computer.

The appearance of "Temporary Files Deletion Have Started" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Temporary Files Deletion Have Started scam (GIF)

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:
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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?

Basically, pop-up scams are messages intended to deceive users into performing certain actions. To elaborate, victims can be tricked into calling fake support lines, allowing cyber criminals to access devices remotely, downloading/installing software, purchasing products, subscribing to services, disclosing sensitive information, making monetary transactions, and so on.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

Pop-up scams aim to generate revenue at victims' expense. Cyber criminals profit predominantly by obtaining funds through deception, endorsing content (e.g., websites, software, products, services, etc.), selling/abusing private data, and spreading malware.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Pop-up scams are hosted on rogue or compromised sites. They can be accessed through redirects generated by webpages employing rogue advertising networks, misspelled URLs, intrusive ads, and adware. Various types of spam (e.g., browser notifications, emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, social media posts, etc.) are also used to endorse scams.

I cannot exit a scam page, how do I close it?

Should it be impossible to close a scam page – end the browser's process using Task Manager. However, do not restore the previous session when reaccessing the browser, as that will reopen the deceptive webpage. Start a new browsing session to avoid this.

I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?

If you have allowed cyber criminals to access your device remotely – firstly, disconnect it from the Internet. Secondly, remove the remote access software that the criminals used (e.g., TeamViewer, UltraViewer, etc.), as they might not need your permission to reconnect. Lastly, run a full system scan with an anti-virus and eliminate all detected threats.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by a pop-up scam, what should I do?

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've provided other private information (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams and the malware they proliferate?

Combo Cleaner is designed to eliminate all types of threats. It is capable of scanning visited websites and detecting deceptive/malicious pages. Therefore, should you enter such a webpage – you will be warned immediately, and further access to it will be blocked.

Additionally, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove practically all known malware infections. Keep in mind that since sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems – performing a complete system scan is essential.

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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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