Scammers pushing fake AdwCleaner in active scareware campaign

An active scareware campaign pushing a fake version of the popular freeware spyware removal tool AdwCleaner is targeting Windows users and is trying to get them to fork over nearly $60 of their hard earned cash.

“The ironic thing is that this is getting on people’s PCs that are already infected with adware or spyware of some type, which then keep popping up windows to a page that looks like this one-¦ which tells you that adware is detected,” How-To Geek explained.

If the user downloads and runs the fake software, a legitimate-looking fake version of AdwCleaner supposedly runs a scan of the computer and shows that it’s full of spyware and other malware. The user is then pushed to “upgrade to the full version” in order to remove the threats, but in order to do it he or she will have to make a payment of $59.99 to a specific PayPal account.

Users who fall for this scheme and pay the price are ultimately pushed to download the legitimate version of the cleaning software (the “full version”), which can actually be downloaded and used for free.

Interestingly enough, once run, this legitimate software will not detect the fake version (yet), so you’re better off choosing another solution. How-To Geek recommends the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which should remove both the fake AdwCleaner and additional malware through which this campaign was launched in the first place.