[SCAM ALERT] Is TotalAV a Total SCAM?

Category: Anti-Virus

Several readers have brought to my attention a suspicious security suite named TotalAV. One of them was fairly certain that it’s a scam, and shared evidence to back his opinion. My own research also leads me to believe TotalAV should be avoided, along with a few of its sister products, AND a bogus antivirus review site that I discovered. Read on to understand why…

A Whole Lotta Scammin' Goin' On

TotalAV is touted as number one by the "review" site Top10BestAntivirus.com, which I now believe is a bogus enterprise that exists only to steer traffic to sketchy sites in return for money. There are many such “best this” and “top 10 that” sites out there, and I don’t trust any of them.

One reader says he installed TotalAV atop Windows 7 running in a virtual machine. That means he created a pristine copy of Win 7 and the “virtual computer” on which it ran, eliminating almost any chance of malware being slipped onto his physical machine at any point between OEM and consumer. He ran scans using the free versions of five brand-name antimalware suites and found nothing amiss: no viruses, trojans, rootkits, spyware, etc.

But TotalAV found lots of malware, and threw up scary alerts urging him to pay $49 for “total protection.” Hmmm…

Scam Alert - TotalAV

I installed TotalAV on a test PC running Win 7, and created an account on TotalAV’s site. The first alarm bell that went off in my head was triggered by the password creation process. This security suite has no password rules! I chose a weak password - short, all alphabetic characters, all lower-case - and TotalAV.com accepted it without question.

Curious, I did a whois search to see the domain registration record of TotalAV.com. I expected to be frustrated by one of those domain registration proxies that hide the true people behind a domain. This is a basic security measure implemented by nearly everyone who registers a domain, to prevent spamming of system administrators, tech support and billing staff. But TotalAV doesn’t use a registration proxy! Its contact for all functions is in plain sight, complete with a person’s name, street address, phone number, and email address. It's possible those details are bogus as well.

In TotalAV’s end-user license agreement, I learned that it is a product of UK-based SS Protect, Ltd. Sister products mentioned include ScanGuard and PC Protect. That was enough to make up my mind about TotalAV.

Remember This Little Gem?

Stick with a tried, true (and FREE) antivirus product that has received top marks from an independent software testing lab. My list of Free Antivirus Programs is a great place to start.

I wrote a cautionary report on ScanGuard back in November, 2016. It has received 150 comments as of today, as recently as January 1, 2018. Readers who paid $49.99 for “total protection” soon found ScanGuard asking for $149.99 for “enhanced protection.” ScanGuard is definitely a scam.

Guess what? So is PC Protect, and so is TotalAV. Even their user interfaces look much alike, and their “workflows” are identical. Make it easy (too easy) to install and run the program. Run a bogus busy-work “scan” for malware, viruses, system vulnerabilities, junk files, suboptimal Windows settings, and so on. Tell the victim a scary story about threats that don’t exist. See if he’ll cough up a little money, then lean hard on him for more.

Also telling is the fact that Top10BestAntivirus.com lists TotalAV, PC Protect, and ScanGuard as #1, #2 and #4 on it's page of The Top 10 Best Antivirus Software 2018. That tells me one of two things for sure. Either this site is run by SS Protect as a dishonest plug for their own products, or they are being paid by SS Protect to promote those three obviously scammy products.

PCMag’s reviewer, Neil J. Rubenking, did not concern himself with the legitimacy of TotalAV at all, giving it a 3-star rating. He just tested the program as if it came from Microsoft, Apple, or some other presumably impeccable source. He did much more exhaustive testing on TotalAV than I care to do on an obvious scam. His summary of TotalAV is telling:

“TotalAV came on the scene less than a year ago (in late 2016)... none of the independent antivirus labs have put it to the test, and in some of my own hands-on tests, it scored poorly. Without the inclusion of the VPN, I wouldn't have been able to give it a three-star rating.”

So would he have given it two stars, or one? If TotalAV has not been tested by independent labs such as AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, it’s because SS Protect Ltd. has not submitted its software to the labs for testing. Any competent software reviewer should know that.

I’m going to go with “no stars.” My advice is to stay away from Top10BestAntivirus.com, TotalAV, PC Protect, and ScanGuard. And if you should find the name “SS Protect, Limited” in any program’s policies, run for your digital life!

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[SCAM ALERT] Is TotalAV a Total SCAM?"

(See all 22 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

Thanks for keeping us alert, Bob.

Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

I use PC Matic have for years never have had a problem


Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

Hi! and HNT to you. I also installed that crap and remove it right after its first scan, I simply didn't like it: thay wanted me to pay them for virussus I didn't have after checking with my real virus protection programs. That was it. Reading your article prove me right. Thganks again.

Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

Both TotalAV.com and Top10BestAntivirus.com used enom.com as the registrar. Suspicious.

Posted by:

Dr. Sheldon Cooper
09 Jan 2018

I learned of this scam via Online Threat Alerts:

Posted by:

Darcetha Manning
09 Jan 2018

Thanks Bob for this valuable information. You're doing a great job, keeping the public informed, about online threats.

Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

Thanks for the heads up Bob and thanks to all for your informative comments. I like to think I am very cautious about this type of thing but it never hurts to be reminded about the scammers.

Posted by:

Jay R
09 Jan 2018


You are deeply appreciated.

Posted by:

09 Jan 2018

I concur, except with your blanket assertion that you do not trust 'any' of the 'Top 10' sites. TopTenReviews is owned by Purch Group (formerly TechMediaNetworks), which also operates Tom's Hardware and AnandTech and related sites. While I know nothing really about Top10Reviews, I doubt that this publisher runs outright scams.

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Salutations!Again. I've just check my mailbox and apparently, they have good news for me...And they keep reminding me that my PC is at risk...From whom? From them I presume...

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Thank you, Bob, for this valuable information! I realize how important ti is to always check sources, and this newsletter makes it easier to obtain the facts - and truth!

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

I agree with Jay R. You are deeply appreciated.
Thanks so much for the heads up.

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Thanks for the "heads up" Bob. Love the news letter, and, yes, I AM 146% smarter ...'cause I'm
146% smarter !

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Tell ya what, I just use Kaspersky Internet Security and forget about any of it. No problems whatsoever, and I go to places on both nets that the Mossad trembles about.

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Bob, thanks for investigating this phony AV/Malware company, including all of their supposed products. I have always known that I could trust your word and insights on what you write about.

Now, there have been a couple of comments that have perplexed me. This article is not really about having a good AV/Malware program - It's about the warning of a scam, in regards to a phony AV/Malware program.

Your article today is more than just warning your regular readers, who usually follow your suggestions. I have always had a good, solid AV/Malware program, on my PC - However, I do worry about my family and friends, who are not that computer savvy. These are the kind of people who fall for these scamming schemes and pay the money when asked for it. The money usually asked for is not just dimes and nickles, either!

To me, when you are more knowledgeable than your friends and family, I believe it is up to you to help to protect them and make life easier - Especially, with computers. So, I will pass this info along to all those I know and the smart ones will pass this info to others, as well.

I know that I just changed AV/Malware programs, since my last one was taking up to many resources. I also, check on a couple of Top Ten websites, however, I knew which ones to check on. I saw AV/Malware programs that I knew, expected to see and saw what I was looking for. Bottom line though - I could have just as easily been taken in, too.

Again Bob - Thank you for caring to share this with your readers. I have shared many, many of your articles and tips, over the years and always highly praise you.

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

Again, many thanks to Bob for the great information he provides. He's always on the lookout for the bad guys.

It's a shame that the Internet has brought out the worst in people. All for the almighty dollar, or whatever currency is involved. And things are getting worse, not better.

Posted by:

Lawrence Foltzer
10 Jan 2018

I've been a PCMATIC customer for about 2 years. I'd probably remember exactly had I the need to know, but with them (Rob and crew) there is no need to worry about the security of my system. IT JUST WORKS, SO SO DO I!
Nevertheless, I do scan your alerts Bob and appreciate the extra layer of protection you provide. God's work!
Keep it up.

Posted by:

10 Jan 2018

I came across Sophos Virus Removal Tool. Its free. Anyone using/used it? Would appreciate your comments.

Posted by:

Jan Lee
10 Jan 2018

When I click on the Recommended: Free Anti-Virus link at the top of this page, one of the advertisers is Free Antivirus Scan 2018 -
Run a 100% Free Virus Scan www.top10bestantivirus.com Are you going to be removing it? Thanks. I value your advise.

Posted by:

Phillip Jeck
11 Jan 2018

Bob, your site is the only site I really trust, and follow your advice. Never been sorry.

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