Enjoy a safer life
without the hassle of online scams

Hackers, scammers, and thieves have all kinds of tricks—but you can spot and avoid them. A little knowledge helps, and we’ve put it all together right here just for you.

Did you receive a suspicious message or phishing email using the McAfee brand? Report it here to: spam@mcafee.com

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Senior Citizen Scams

How to spot McAfee branded scams

Recently, some of our customers reported receiving messages that say they’re from McAfee—yet actually turned out to be phishing attacks from cybercriminals trying to steal their personal and financial information.

These included phony SMS and text messages, as well as phishing emails as you can see here:

Verifying genuine McAfee messages

How to tell if your subscription, renewal, invoice, or receipt from us is real

For starters, if you receive an unexpected notification, we recommend logging on to McAfee.com to confirm your subscription and renewal status. We will never require you to call a phone number in an email or text message.

You can also contact the official McAfee Customer Support team directly if you have questions at: https://www.mcafee.com/support/

Look for the signs of a fake

Phishing messages take many forms. Some of them can look practically legitimate. Others can look rather sloppy and thrown together. Either way, look out for:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Suspicious links
  • Attachments
  • Requests for personal or financial information
  • Visual design and layout that differs from what we typically use
  • A message that tells you to call us

Look for legitimate McAfee email addresses

We use different email addresses for different purposes—such as emails for product activations, adding devices through McAfee My Account, email address verification, and so on. If you spot an address that we don’t use, it’s likely a scam.

To help you identify legitimate McAfee emails, click on this support article  that shows a list of the addresses that we use.

Spotting an imposter—What we will and won’t do

We will provide free customer service

As a McAfee customer, you receive free support as part of your subscription. If you need help with one of your McAfee products, contact McAfee Customer Service. You can speak with our service agents by phone or chat.

We will not make abusive or harassing calls

McAfee will never call you and ask you to pay for customer service. If you receive one of these calls, it’s not from us. If the call feels harassing or gets abusive nature, hang up. Contact McAfee Customer Service and report the call to one of our team members.

We will not ask for sensitive information

Be suspicious of communications that ask you for information such as your Social Security number, PINs, and bank or payment details. McAfee customer service, and the customer service teams of our partners, will never request this type of sensitive information. Nor do they require it. If a person, site, or message asks you to provide this type of information, it’s likely a scam.

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Phone Scams

Anyone who has a phone knows that scam calls happen all too often. The scammer can pose as a legitimate company, or even a government organization, all to steal your personal information, funds, or both.

Common phone scams:

Tech help scams​
Tech support scams ​

The scammer may say they’re from a big software or online security company and then warn you that your device has an issue that only they can fix. Of course, your device is fine. Yet they’ll promise to fix it for a fee—effectively taking your money for nothing. Others will trick you into installing malware as part of the “repair,” which can steal personal information from your device.

Credit repair scams​
Credit repair scams

Like the tech support scam, these calls often use the threat of an outstanding debt or urgent credit alert to lure you in. For a fee, the scammer promises to resolve the issue—an issue that doesn’t exist. Moreover, the scammer may do more than charge you for a phony fix. They may re-use any account or credit-related information you provide to commit further identity theft.

Charity scams​

​These calls often crop up during the holidays when people have charitable giving on their mind, yet they can happen any time. Here, scammers will play on your emotions. They’ll paint a picture of people or a cause in desperate need, followed by an urgent plea for your donation. One that ends up in the scammer’s pocket, along with your payment information.

Extended car warranty scams​

Here, scammers may pose as a car dealer, manufacturer, or insurance company and pitch you on renewing your warranty. These calls are often pre-recorded and instruct you to provide your personal information. These can be tricky. Sometimes the scammer may have specific information about your car, likely pulled from online resources, which makes the call seem legitimate.

Avoiding phone scams:

Ways you can avoid phone scams:


Screen your calls

Scam calls sometimes look like an unfamiliar number on your caller ID. Let unknown numbers go to voicemail. From there, you can determine if the message is legitimate.


Hang up if you pick up

Sometimes those calls can slip through (see below). If you find yourself on a scam call, simply hang up. Don’t press any buttons or offer any response. No need to worry about manners.


Don’t rely on caller ID as proof

Phone scams have gotten better at making you think it is a legitimate number by “spoofing” an ID and displaying some type of official name. Some people even report seeing their own number calling them.


Use call blocking

Some carriers offer services that can help screen out scam calls for you. They draw on known lists of suspicious and known scam numbers and can alert you if a call could be a scammer.

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Chat Scams

Chat & text scams 

It can start with an innocent “Hello.” Or maybe with, “Not sure if I have the right number, but is this Susan?” Sometimes it looks like a delivery notice or a bill reminder. Either way, something feels … off. Unexpected texts like these may be the start of a chat scam designed to steal your personal info or simply rip you off. 

Common chat and text scams include:

Foreign lottery scam
Fake package delivery scams 

This scam targets online shoppers, which is most of us these days. The text may provide bogus tracking info, or say that there’s an issue with your delivery, followed by a link. That link leads to a malicious site created to steal account or personal information.

Survey scam
Free prizes and cheap goods scams

Whether it’s a text saying “YOU’VE WON” or that you’re eligible for a great deal on otherwise expensive watches, clothes, or devices, these messages are just as they seem—too good to be true. Again, these messages will contain links that drive you to a malicious site. 

Banking scam
Debt and student loan assistance scams

When it comes to finances, scammers will take full advantage of their victims by offering payment plans or other assistance to pay off debts or loans quickly. However, what they’re really after is your account and personal information so that they can commit identity theft in your name.

“There’s a problem with your account …” ​

​Look out for texts that say a payment didn’t go through, that your payment is overdue, or that your account has been frozen—whether it’s for your credit card, streaming services, utilities. Scammers send texts like these to rip off their victims and steal account information. 

Friendship and romance scams ​

Some scammers play a long con game, where a simple “wrong number” leads to a longer conversation. The scammer keeps it up, and over time some type of a relationship forms. All seems well until the scammer starts asking for things like money and gift cards.  

Avoiding chat scams:

Ways you can avoid chat scams: 


Verify the message 

If a friend, family member, bank, or any other business asks you for personal information or money via text, validate the request by calling the company or person making the request. 


Handle unknown or numbers with care

While it’s possible that these texts may be from someone you know with a new phone or from a legitimate business, treat them like they’re a scam. As above, verify the message. 


Look for poor grammar

Scammers sometimes use automated bots to generate messages (which are getting better and better at sounding convincing nowadays). They also may run scams across several languages. If the text reads awkwardly, it may be a scam. 


Don’t respond

In the end, the safest response is no response at all. If the request is urgent, the company, friend, or family member will likely try to reach you in several ways other than with a text.

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Web Scams

Web Scams

Cybercriminals have many tools for defrauding you while you surf, shop, and go about your day online. They include phony websites, bogus apps, and malware-loaded attachments—yet more ways they come after you and your personal information. 

Common web scams include:

Fake commerce sites​​
Phony shopping and ecommerce sites​​

Scammers will prop up sites used to sell products that they will never deliver, however, they will take your money—along with your debit or credit card info.

Credit card fraud​
Credit card and credential capture 

Some scammer sites will ask for credit card information or for other account information (like an Apple ID or Google account) to proceed or browse on a website. 

Malware attacks 

Scammers will also install viruses and other malware on your devices to steal information. Clicking suspicious links or malicious email attachments are top ways to end up infected. Some apps downloaded from sketchy app stores can have malware too.  

Ransomware attacks 

This attack is another form of malware, and it works like it sounds. It holds your device and the data on it for ransom—locking it up until you pay. Even then, you have no guarantee they’ll set your data free.  

Avoiding web scams:

Ways you can avoid web scams:


Keep things updated

Your operating system, web browsers, and apps are constantly updating to adjust to the scammers’ new tricks. This includes keeping your McAfee subscription updated as well.


Be careful what you click

The long-standing advice still holds true. Don’t click on suspicious links or unsolicited email attachments without verifying their validity. If you get one from someone you know, confirm that they actually sent it. The same goes for links. You can also use web protection that warns you of suspicious links and websites.


Buy from trusted sources

Do some research if you are not sure. McAfee’s built-in web protection is a great resource for calling out unsafe sites when you attempt to visit them.


Only download apps from official web stores

Device manufacturers like Apple and Google have measures in place that help prevent malware-loaded apps from ending up in their stores.


Pay attention to payments

One sure sign of an online scam is when someone asks for payment with something other than a credit card or debit card. Using wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency all ensure that if you pay, there’s almost no way for you to get that money back. Consider making your purchases only with a credit card, as credit cards often have ways of contesting bogus charges that debit cards do not.

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Phishing Scams

Phishing Scams

Scammers will serve them up to you many ways—by email, text messages, and direct messages on social media too. No matter what form they take, a phishing scam targets you by posing as someone you know, a business or organization you trust, or someone who seems legitimate (but is not). The scammer’s goal: get things like your passwords, account information, company logins, and personal information. 

Common phishing scams:

The mobile phish​
File sharing & document signature scams ​​

Scammers realize that we use plenty of online and cloud-based services to store our files, sign documents, or simply get work done. Accordingly, phony requests to access files or to digitally sign files are on the rise, tricking people into clicking on dangerous links. 

File sharing & DocuSign
Survey scams ​

You get a request to take a survey for a social issue you may care about. Or it may be a request for a customer satisfaction survey from an ecommerce site you’ve used in the past. But when you click that bogus link, you could land on a site that infects you with malware, steals your information, or both. 

CEO and executive scams

It may look like a perfectly normal email from an exec in your organization who’s asking for information like company accounts, employee documentation, or details about a contract, but it’s actually a scammer attempting to harvest that information. 

Payment request scam 

With mobile payment apps so popular today, scammers have stepped in to take advantage. A message that poses as a payment request winds up on your device. Clicking the link contained in it sends you to a phony payment site that, once again, steals your funds and your payment information. 

Avoiding phishing scams:

Avoiding phishing scams—ask yourself: 


Do I know you? 

Ask this simple question before responding to a message. First, check to see if you recognize the sender’s name and email address. 


Is this asking for too much information? 

Be wary of anyone who asks for more information than they need, even if it’s a company or bank you do business with. 


Is this even a legitimate message or email? 

If the text or chat doesn’t use proper grammar, this is often a tip-off that it’s a scammer. In the case of emails, look for signs of unprofessional design or layout. Legitimate companies strive for a clean look and feel.


Am I on the web page I think I’m on? 

Before logging in to an online account, make sure the web address is correct. Phishers often set up bogus websites that look legitimate hoping to trick you into entering your login details. In fact, it’s safest to directly type in the address of the site you wish to visit. 


Is it too good to be true?

Avoid deals that offer things at a suspiciously low price, give something valuable away for free, or otherwise promise too much. They’re likely a scam. 

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Email Scams

Email Scams

You’ve probably seen your share of them. Emails that don’t look or read right. Others that that offer questionable deals and some that try to bully into action. These scams have been around for some time, yet they’re getting more sophisticated—which makes knowing how to spot them all that more important. 

Common email scams:

Foreign lottery scam
Foreign lottery scams

You get an email that says you just won a big prize, often in a foreign country. But here’s the catch: you must pay a small amount of money up front to gain the larger reward. The scammers end up with your money, and possibly your payment information as well. 

Survey scam
Renewal scams ​

Similarly, we have lots of accounts nowadays, some of which require renewal from time to time. Scammers will pose as a reputable brand in an email, making an urgent renewal request. Like the other scams, they end up with your money and payment information as a result. 

Banking scam
Banking and online payment service scams

You receive an email saying there is something wrong with your bank or online payment service that needs your attention. You’re then directed to a fake site where you attempt to log in so they can steal your username and password for the actual site.

Tracking notice, coupon, and invoice scams

Each of these give scammers an excuse to slap an attachment on their email—making you think that they’ve included an important or valuable document of some kind. Instead, it’s really malware that can steal information or otherwise harm your device.

Avoiding email scams:

Avoiding email scams:


Don’t click on links and attachments 

If you don’t do business with a particular company, don’t click on any links, attachments, or take any surveys it may send. Likewise, if the email comes from someone you do know, follow up with them to see if they in fact sent it. Same for any business communications. 


Look at the sender’s email address 

Scammers often “spoof” email and web addresses. They’ll take a recognized and reputable address and modify it slightly so that it looks real at first glance. Look at the email address without clicking on any links. Does it match the sender? Does it look familiar, yet altered? These are signs to delete the email and go on your way. 


Go the direct route 

If you still have concerns that the email about your account or service may be legitimate, visit the company’s website by directly typing in its address directly and contact their customer service team from there. 

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Senior Citizen Scams

Senior Citizen Scams

Scammers directly target elders and seniors for several reasons. Scammers see them as less technically savvy, people who have retirement income ready for the taking, and people who perhaps lack daily contact with others—all making them prone to several scams. 

Common senior citizen scams include:

Grandparent scam
Grandparents scam

Criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need. The stories vary, yet they typically involve an urgent call for help, like being stranded somewhere with an expensive car repair. 

The romance scam
Friendship and romance scams 

Scammers will prey on loneliness. Pure and simple. As with other victims, scammers will reach out with a “wrong number” text that leads to a longer conversation. As the relationship develops, the scammer then starts asking for money, gift cards, or even payments into phony investments. 

Tech support scams 

The scammer will reach out to seniors under the guise of a security pro or as a rep from a major software or computer company, and then falsely claim there’s something wrong with their device. They’ll promise to fix this non-existent issue for a fee and take their money for nothing in return. Some may even install malware on the senior’s device to cause further harm, all as part of the “repair.” 

Government impersonation scams​

Scammers will pose as a government employee and threaten victims with arrest or prosecution if a payment or demand is not met. In some cases, the scammer will pose as an IRS agent and demand immediate payment for back taxes. Other versions of this scam include impersonating an immigration agent. 

loved one encounters a scam

Avoiding scams—for seniors: 


Be cautious and resist pressure to act quickly 

Watch out for unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers—particularly those that create a sense of urgency or use scare tactics to lure you into immediate action. Those are telltale signs of a scam. 


Keep your personal information to yourself 

Scammers will pose as a person of authority in the hope that you will follow along. They’ll ask for things like your Social Security number, credit card number, and other financial details—and may bully or pressure you into doing so. If you find someone asking these questions, particularly on a call you didn’t expect to receive, it could be a scam. 


Beware those seeking gifts 

Whether it’s money, jewelry, or gift cards, scammers will often ask for funds in payment methods that are tough to track and even tougher to refund in the event of fraud. This is often a top sign of fraud and that the friend who asked you for those funds really isn’t your friend, as difficult as that may feel to realize. 


Be careful what you click and download

Never open an email attachment from someone you don't know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you. Even messages that look like they are from friends, families, and colleagues can contain sketchy links and malware-loaded attachments. Reach out to the person who sent it and confirm that it’s legitimate and that they meant to send it. 


Avoiding scams—for their friends and family: 


Keep in touch 

Being there to lend an ear or a helping hand goes a long way toward keeping the elders in your life safe from scams. Chat about what they’re doing online. Questions about their devices and what they’re doing online will inevitably come up as a natural part of the conversation. It’ll be a great comfort to them knowing that you’re around to lend them a quick answer as needed.


Lean on the experts 

Several banks and financial institutions offer resources that can help protect elder customers. See what they have to offer. Also, look to resources from the American Association of Retired People (AARP), such as the AARP fraud hotline. Also, you and your family can learn plenty more about scam prevention in our McAfee Safety Series, a set of straightforward guides that cover topics like phishing, identity theft, and staying safe on social media.

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam? 

We’re here to help. Head over to our “Report a scam” page for next steps you can take and for ways your McAfee subscription can help you get on the path to recovery. 

Senior Citizen Scams

Do you think you’re the victim of a scam?

Realizing that you’ve become a victim of a scam carries plenty of emotion with it, which is understandable—the scammer has taken you in, along with your money and information. Once that initial rush of anger and surprise has passed, it’s time to get clinical and get to work on the following steps.

loved one encounters a scam

Steps to protecting yourself


1. Notify the companies involved

Whether you spot a curious charge on your bank statement, discover a potentially fraudulent account when you check credit report, or get an alert from your monitoring service, let the bank or organization involved know when you suspect fraud or theft. With a visit to their website, you can track down the appropriate number to call and get the investigation process started. Also, forward phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies at: reportphishing@apwg.org


2. File a police report

Some businesses will require you to file a local police report to acquire a case number to complete your claim. Beyond that, filing a report is a good idea in itself. Identity theft is still theft and reporting it provides an official record of the incident.


3. Contact your governmental agencies and authorities

In the U.S., the identity theft website from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a fantastic resource should you find yourself in need. Further, filing a complaint with the FBI through their Internet Crime Complaint Center can help the FBI and its partners bring cybercriminals to justice.

Outside of the U.S., our knowledge base article on identity theft offers suggestions for the specific steps you can take in specific countries, along with helpful links for local authorities that you can turn to for reporting and assistance.

Also contact your national tax or revenue agency as well if you believe your tax ID number was involved in the scam. They will have their own reporting mechanisms and processes to assist you with the recovery process.

4. Put on a credit freeze or lock

If you think you got scammed, now is a good time to review your options for a credit freeze or lock. See what the credit bureaus in your region offer, along with the terms and conditions of each. With the right decision, a freeze or lock can help minimize and prevent further harm. As you’ll see below, you can set freezes and locks right from our app with certain McAfee plans.

5. Continue to monitor

Strongly consider using a monitoring service to help you continue to keep tabs on your identity. The unfortunate fact of identity theft and fraud is that it can mark the start of a long, drawn-out affair. One scam can possibly lead to another, so even what may appear to be an isolated bad charge on your credit card calls for keeping an eye on your identity all around.

6. Work with a recovery pro

A recovery service can help you clean up your credit in the wake of a scam, fraud, or theft, all by working on your behalf. Given the time, money, and stress that can come along with setting your financial record straight, leaning on the expertise of a professional can provide you with much-needed relief on several counts.

How your McAfee subscription can help 

Foreign lottery scam
Up to $1M Identity theft coverage

to reimburse lost funds or expenses in restoring the customer’s identity—which also includes assistance from licensed restoration experts who can take necessary actions to help repair identity and credit issues.

Survey scam
Credit monitoring and alerts

can help you keep an eye on changes to your credit score, report, and accounts with timely notifications and guidance so you can take action to tackle identity theft. 

Banking scam
Security freeze

events unauthorized access to existing accounts or new ones being set up in your name with a credit, bank, or utility freeze.

Identity monitoring

for up to 60 unique pieces of personal information on the dark web with timely alerts up to 10 months sooner than competitive products.

Personal data cleanup

finds and removes consumer data from data broker and people search sites, then continually monitors the sites should a consumer’s information reappear. 

Need help setting up your services?

Drop by https://www.mcafee.com/support/ to get started. You can get help through self-service or with our Virtual Assistant—along with a chat or call with our support team, all available to assist you around the clock.