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Fake antivirus billing renewals are trending now - How to spot fake subscription scams
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Security & privacy

Got an email about your antivirus? It might be a scam

Whether or not you’re subscribed to antivirus software, you might get a message about it. An email or a letter in the mail will say your subscription was renewed — and you’ll be charged several hundred dollars. Subscription scams are trending, and fake antivirus billing renewals could trick you out of hundreds.

Sometimes, con artists pretend to represent Microsoft, Google or other trusted tech companies. They think you’ll call their fake customer service number if they hide behind official logos. Tap or click here for the most common companies scammers impersonate.

Government officials say there’s been a rise in antivirus scam letters. You’ll get these scams through snail mail or email. If you fall for their tricks, you’re toast.

What to do when you get fake antivirus billing renewals

In May, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reported a rise in complaints. Consumers said they were getting fake Norton 360 Deluxe software letters. Most got them through email, while others got physical documents.

This scam is still going strong. Kim recently came face-to-face with this con. Luckily, she recognized the warning signs and deleted the email ASAP.

If you’re anything like Kim, you probably get a ton of spam texts. Tap or click here for nine of the most creative scams from Kim’s inbox. Some of them are scarily deceptive.

Here’s an example of what this scam looks like:

The FTC shared this example of what fake antivirus billing renewals look like. Imposter scams are trending in 2022. Use this cybersecurity tip for safety.
Source: FTC

Whatever you do, don’t call the customer service number

It will connect you to a scammer who asks for your credit card information. They might even demand your computer passwords. Other scammers will tell you to download a computer program.

They could install malware or block you from accessing your computer files if you download the program. You might be dealing with a ransomware scam. Tap or click here for five simple ways to protect against ransomware.

Bottom line: Never call phone numbers on suspicious messages. Here are a few tips from the DATCP to stay protected:

  • Watch for emails and letters that claim your bank account will be charged for an unfamiliar subscription.
  • Do not call the phone numbers listed on suspicious letters received via email or USPS Mail.
  • Never give out computer passwords to a stranger on the phone.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer unless it is with a trusted source.
  • Do not give out personal information such as date of birth, Social Security number, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers.

If you’re curious about the status of any subscriptions, go to the official sites directly. You’ll find the correct contact numbers there.

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