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lady concerned about antivirus scam on laptop
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Security & privacy

Antivirus warning: What to do if you see this warning from McAfee

Have you ever received a scary email regarding a product or program you don’t use? That’s what phishing is all about. Scammers send messages to countless inboxes, hoping someone will bite.

A recent scam involved people getting fake Norton 360 Deluxe software messages informing them that they were being charged $300 for autorenewal. A customer service phone number was included. Tap or click here to check out the details of this scheme.

You have to be careful no matter which programs you use or don’t use. Scammers never sleep, and even the most vigilant can be caught off guard. Here’s a scam involving another popular antivirus program.

Here’s the backstory

Komando Content Director Allie recently got this pop-up from McAfee claiming her subscription expired. She was also warned about being exposed to viruses and malware. A solution was offered, of course, in the form of a discounted subscription:

This looks pretty believable. Note the recent date, serial number and realistic McAfee logo. You may notice some weird formatting, but no significant typos.

Clicking on the Renew Subscription button leads to a convincing-looking website where you’re asked to enter personal and financial information to sign up for antivirus protection.

The entire thing is a scam. If you don’t use McAfee, you may not fall for it, but others will. And don’t be surprised if you get a pop-up just like this one with your antivirus software as the leading subject.

RELATED: 3 immediate steps to take if you fell for a scam

How to stay safe from scams like these

Be wary of all pop-ups, especially when they contain alarming warnings. It’s better to ignore them and contact the company directly if you think there’s a problem.

Here are some more tips to avoid falling victim to scams:

  • Safeguard your information  Never give out personal data if you don’t know the sender of a text or email or can’t verify their identity. Criminals only need your name, email address and telephone number to rip you off.
  • Always use 2FA — Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for better security whenever available. Tap or click here for details on 2FA.
  • Sense of urgency — Here’s a red flag: Any message that tells you to “act now!” or makes you feel rushed and anxious. That’s exactly what the scammers want you to feel.
  • Avoid links and attachments  Don’t click on links or attachments you receive in unsolicited emails. They could be malicious and infect your device with malware and/or steal sensitive information.
  • Antivirus is vital  Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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