The current scam of the week? Technical support scams.

Cybercriminals are tricking users into believing that their computers are infected with ransomware or other types of errors via pop-up messages. You may find yourself at one of these fraudulent web pages after clicking on advertisements, when browsing online as usual, or when an installed PUA on your browser opens them.

PUAs are used to collect data from users (such as IP addresses, search queries, and other sensitive information) and may be inadvertently installed on a PC when a person clicks on a coupon or online survey.

The pop-up windows in this particular scam will have a message indicating that a Trojan Spyware with error code #0x898778 has been detected, and that the PC and other information (such as login credentials, passwords and accounts) have been compromised. The goal of these messages is to coax users into contacting a 1-800 number in order to fix the “compromised” PC.

An example of the message can be seen below:

Image sourced from PC Risk

Once the number is called, scammers will keep people on the phone and try to sell them unnecessary software services, along with requesting remote access to a person’s computer.

If you do encounter a pop-up like the one above, please do not call the number and instead ignore the message.


A quick summary of the threat can be seen in the table below:

NameWindows Defender – Security Warning technical support scam
Threat TypePhishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake ClaimWebsite has detected Spyware, Trojan and error.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number+1-888-351-4098, +1-833-930-2284, +1-866-849-1382, +1-877-706-2794, +1-877-591-6339, +1-888-481-2681
SymptomsFake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methodsCompromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
DamageLoss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Table sourced from PC Risk

In order to avoid these types of scams, you should download any software that you need from official websites only. Do not use torrent clients, eMule or third party downloads. Be careful when clicking links on untrusted websites, as they can cause malicious installations. It’s also a good idea to go through your browser extensions, add-ons and plug-ins every to remove unwanted applications.


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