[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 38 comments for this article.)

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:

Sam
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.


Posted by:

Susie
09 Feb 2018

Hi, I was just reconiling my account and noticed a charge of $19.00 for the totalav antivirus i purchased last month for my PC. I then noticed on the net that this is a scam. Following some research I found your website and with all the comments above and not being computer savvy, my question is....do I remove all trace of this package from my pc?
Appreciate your expert advice. Thank you :)


Posted by:

Bill T
17 Mar 2018

My wife, son and I have been using Trend Micro and my wife's pc received notice that it no longer supports XP. I searched for another antivirus and found Total AV which I downloaded. It seemed cheap enough which advertises it is free. My wife has home based business and uses quickbooks for records and has an eight year old huskavarna sewing and embroidery machine that still uses floppys which is why she has to stay with XP. Today she was printing out invoices and was interrupted by the antivirus telling her to review some feature. Then her program froze on her causing her to reboot. This is all a waste of her time so I will probably uninstall and find something else.


Posted by:

Lamya
04 May 2018

Hello,
My experience with Total AV antivirus is that they charged my credit card for a service I did not register for, I sent a complaint and they refunded the amount. I tried removing my credit card information from their website (a feature normally available with other companies) but was unable to do so and decided to cancel my card upon an advice from my bank, once the card was cancelled they cancelled my subscription and refunded the amount paid.


Posted by:

sheri
04 May 2018

I have total AV and paid the $19.95. They are now asking for a password, which I don't have..I started thinking this was a scam because of the steps they wanted to put me through to set one up. Found your website and now I see that I was correct. How do I get rid of TotalAv now that I have it on my computer??


Posted by:

Dick
26 May 2018

HELLO! Boy oh boy. Started off with this
TOTAL AV as a "free" yahdahah and ended up I'm out of change! DO NOT GO HERE FOR VIRUS PROTECTION! I was on for a half hour with a rep. Among other things was trying to find out how to go to my "Account" like everything else you do in life. I eventually figured it out on my own in spite of there's nothing showing about "Account" when you go into the program. He must have put in the don't renew automatically on his end after I requested it. Thank God. I eventually went through one step after another to see if there's some info on me, which was at the top of the screen about not renewing. That was it. This is a scam. Paid $27 for this year, which I thought was going to be free at first or at least for a while, but then he quoted me $99 for next year for 3 PCs. Oh, and you're automatically renewed (Did I mention that?) without even them asking you. It's "Recommended" though. Apparently they don't want you to know it though. I never even had the chance to say yay or nay on that to begin with. NEWS! I just cancelled!!!! Will follow-up by phone in a few days!!!! Dodged a bullet.


Posted by:

gibby
08 Jul 2018

Thank you so much for such valuable information. AV Total once got into my system they wanted me to test the program free, when I write to them never hear back, that was suspicious to me. I am glad I didn't allow this program to run into my system. They are blocked can't come near my system. This AV Total is nothing but a virus, please stay away from it don't even run it on your pc or you be sorry you did.


Posted by:

M
21 Jul 2018

I bought Total AV about 3 months back. It has just vanished entirely from my list of programs, I now have no antivirus support and the 24/365 support has vanished too, as I cannot ring them up without the phone going dead. I think I have been ripped off, and God knows what they have done to my files and my computer in the meantime whilst they have had full access to all my files. Screams Talpiot setup.


Posted by:

Roy Morgan
04 Aug 2018

I got taken in by the "Top10BestAntivirus. ... " website, downloaded and installed TotalAV. But when It required me to create an account, I balked and did not do that.

Since then, my Disk Utility program finds errors it cannot fix and further diagnostics and repair steps have not worked. I will now try to scrub all traces of TotalAV from this system.

(I use a MacBook Pro running Mac OS Sierra 10.12.6)


Posted by:

Stacey
19 Aug 2018

We downloaded but did not opt to pay. Always pop ups at start up with several windows. Having problems with WiFi connections so I shredded it. Now we have no connection to Internet on tower and limited WiFi connections. Everything shows as connected. Will probably have to pay a fortune to fix. Stay away from this antivirus!


Posted by:

senior analyst
14 Sep 2018

TOTAL AV IS A SCAM AND HARD TO GET RID IF IT TOO...


Posted by:

Chan Park
14 Sep 2018

cancel+180914-nwxutxh@totalav.com sent me a message concerning my request to cancel.

TotalAV Cancel

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear you wish to leave us.

After reviewing your account I can see that you have been actively using our software on your Mac OSX computer.

Chan, I'm happy to go ahead and action your cancel request, however, I want to make sure you are aware of the potential risks associated with doing so.

Upon expiration, your advanced real-time antivirus protection will lapse which can leave you vulnerable to harmful malware threats.

I want to help avoid exposing you to cyber-crime for another 12-months, which is why I have gone ahead and applied a huge $130.00 discount on your annual renewal.

This means that you will now only pay $19.95 to benefit from our award-winning service which allows you to safeguard 5 separate devices.

Why waste time shopping around, it's the best value protection on the market.

Please let me know if you are unhappy with this change.

Have a great day,

Steven Hill
Customer Service Representative,
TotalAV

To which I replied:
That's an interesting story, but my current Malware program had identified TotalAV as malware, and removed your system. So I do not know how you can see that I am using it.

I believe that one gets what they pay for, and I do not think it is even worth $20. Good thing I said something, I would certainly consider it to be a cybercrime if the price was $150

The only thing I am unhappy about is receiving a response.


Posted by:

jed thomas
16 Sep 2018

10 points to bob for calling it how it is, wish i found this forum earlier, to write my extremely frustrating experience with totalAV would take about 3 pages so i'll sum it up with this:
if you have brought totalAV like me you may be subjected to:
non intuitive software
system instability
micro transaction spamming
intrusive program behavior
no support at all and be prepared to monitor you bank accounts as there are a lot of reports of totalAV taking money up to a year after the subscription was confirmed to be canceled

I recommend avoiding at all costs


Posted by:

Robert
18 Sep 2018

Hi Bob,

Enjoyed your piece on Total AV.
I'm using Kaspersky on my computer and wanted to know, do I need anything else on my computer for protection?

I, also have Malwarebytes is this necessary or does Kaspersky cover everything?


Best regards,


Robert


Posted by:

Sohail Khan
20 Sep 2018

I just discovered the TotalAV is a complete fraud. They started with 2.99/mth. I didn't realize that they had increased their charge to $8.99 the following month. Now, the customer service woman put me through different sites to explain that after one month the discount is over. They are complete frauds. I've canceled my service and would very strongly recommend to everyone to never go back to TotalAv.


Posted by:

George Griffih
01 Oct 2018

Be Watchfull a $99.00 charge showed up on my credit card. Fraud Alert imposed. Had to destroy card and waiting for a new card. PITA!!!!!!!


Posted by:

Eric Schlosser
02 Oct 2018

Your site has an ad for the Top 10 list you claim is a scam!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for the heads-up. It's a game of whack-a-mole with this particular site. Keeps popping up with new names!


There's more reader feedback... See all 38 comments for this article.

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