Enjoy a safer life
by avoiding these online scams

When it comes to online scams, a little knowledge can make you more confident in your safety. Read on to learn about the most common types of scams, how to spot them, and how to avoid them.

Tip: Report fraudulent emails using the McAfee brand to scam@mcafee.com


Emails sent to McAfee may be used to improve McAfee’s products, including training AI models to detect and fight email scams. For more information see McAfee’s privacy notice.

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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. 

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. 

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.