We printed this warning in our reviews of top
adware and spyware
but it needs to be repeated here as well, because it applies
to anti-virus software just as strongly.
Be extremely cautious if you're offered a supposedly free antivirus
The way this scam works is that you download what you believe is a free
antivirus program and install it. You then run the software and it informs
you that your PC is infected by a variety of malware.
You then discover that what you thought was a free antivirus program isn't
really free at all: only the scan was. You now have to pay the
software company money to upgrade your download so that the "spyware", "adware"
or "trojans" it supposedly found can be removed.
This scam is being run by a variety of shady people. And while some versions
of it are little more than harmless time-wasters (ie you simply uninstall
the downloaded scanner and get on with your life), some are genuinely
malicious (ie the scanner proves extremely difficult to remove if you
don't buy the upgrade and/or causes some damage to your machine).
The software we list here is all legitimate, comes from reputable
companies and the truth of what we say can be easily verified by searching
for these products on Google to see what the consensus view is.
We suggest you do the same if you run across any other supposedly
free antivirus software or antivirus scanner (ie Google it and see what the
majority of people say).