Pop-up Scam

Estimated time to read: 2 Minutes

Short Version


The invention of the pop-up created unintentionally one of the most annoying ways for ads to appear on the screen. But more annoying are the scammers who use pop-ups for their purposes. 


Tech-support scammers use pop-ups to convince users that they have a virus (or other problems) on their device. The scammers offer to “repair” the problem for a fee.


The pop-up is often programmed in a way that makes it hard to close it so that a user really thinks that he just got a virus. On top of it, a lot of pop-ups are really loud to scare users even further.

Being unable to close a pop-up is not a sign that your device has a virus on it.

Example of a tech support scam pop-up

How to close 'un-closable' Pop-ups

For Windows:

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del (all at once) to open your Task Manager.
2. Click on the Browser that has the pop-up in it(e.g, Chrome, Firefox, IE)
3. Click on End Task

For Mac:

1. Hold down the Command+Option+Escape keys
2. Select the Browser that has the pop-up in it.
3. Click on the X symbol
4. Force Quit if it does not respond

In extreme cases, you need to shout down your device entirely.

Actual Virus?

If the pop-ups appear regularly on your device, chances are high that you have malware on your device.
However, you should never contact the number displayed on the pop-up.

You should look for real tech-support or try to fix it yourself. For more information on how to remove tech support pop-ups, we can recommend this page.

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