386 The Norton and McAfee billing scam

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I’m still seeing a LOT of these showing up, and clients still contact me to see if they are legitimate. Here’s how to identify this scam.


There’s a good chance you’ve gotten one of these emails at some point over the past several months. The scammers have been sending out a LOT of them – sometimes over 200,000 in a single day.

They tend to follow a predictable format. They are supposedly being sent from Norton or McAfee, and the basic message is that your credit card will be charged $199, $299, or even $399 (the dollar amount varies) to renew the service that you have supposedly subscribed to.

Norton scam email


Of course, the recipients of these emails are not going to be charged anything. That’s just to get your attention.

The REAL goal of these scam emails is to get you to call the phone number. They know that people will read this and think, “Wait a minute, I don’t subscribe to those crappy antivirus programs – what’s going on?” And the person will see that big notice that says “For information about your order, please call…”. Or it might even say, “To cancel this renewal charge, call this number”. And of course the person doesn’t want to pay that charge, so they call the number.

That’s the big mistake here – calling the phone number. That’s exactly what they want you to do. Never call the number.

When you make that phone call, you will be talking to a professional scammer who is very good and very clever at this game. He will sound very convincing. A lot of people are tricked by this.

When the scammer has you on the phone, he will tell you that he needs to remote in to your computer in order to uninstall the software and process your refund. But in the background, he’ll be installing other malicious software and more unattended remote access tools – so that he can get into your computer anytime, even when you’re not on the phone with him.

If the scammer senses that you are especially gullible, he might ask you for your credit card information in order to “process the refund”. You obviously don’t want to give a scammer your credit card information.

The key to success is this: if you get an email stating that you owe some money, or that your credit card will be charged, or has been charged, don’t call the number on the email. In fact, if you want to, you can forward the email to me at pctutor@gmail.com and ask if it’s legitimate.

I have one client who gets a lot of these emails. Every time she would call me or email me asking if it’s legit. Finally I told her to just put a note near her computer to remind her that these are all just scams. Then I was in her home recently, and saw this on her desk. Smart!

Norton McAfee scam


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Maurice E Beaudin
November 22nd, 2021

Hi Scott:
Thanks to you I’ve been getting Malwarebytes free for life & more than satisfied with that protection. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Scott Johnson
November 22nd, 2021

Glad it’s working for you. I definitely don’t recommend Malwarebytes any more.

Joe Brennan
November 23rd, 2021

Hi Scot:
Thanks for your interesting and timely warnings. I heed them all.
By the way, we met in Damariscotta, Maine, when you came to my house to buy a used laptop for resale.
Be well,

Scott Johnson
November 23rd, 2021

Hi Joe! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving in Maine.

Norma Rudametkin
November 23rd, 2021

Always appreciate your tips. I haven’t gotten any Norton since we last spoke, but I’m sick of the emails from Bucharest, Gibraltar, and points beyond. They are a nuisance and unsubscribing is a waste of time!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.