/ Scams

Phishing alert: fake McAfee and Norton Antivirus emails

A familiar phishing scam has returned: scammers are trying their luck at convincing people they need to renew antivirus protection they didn’t know they had.

Fake emails posing as McAfee and Norton Antivirus informing people that their subscription is at an end and needs renewing are currently circulating. The emails ask you to click through on links in order to ‘renew the subscriptions’.

We’ve seen copies of both so you know exactly what to watch out for.

Fake McAfee antivirus email

The McAfee renewal phishing email tells people their subscription has expired and that they ‘strongly recommend renewing your McAfee subscription to keep your privacy online and protect your communications.’


Fake Norton Antivirus email

On the other hand, the fake Norton Antivirus email is a bit more canny. Devoid of colour and any official branding, it uses the format of a payment invoice, claiming that your subscription has been automatically renewed and updated. 


This is partly an attempt to trick you into contacting the scammers using the details at the bottom of the email. 

Spotting fake antivirus emails

Luckily, these emails aren’t as sophisticated as others we’ve seen, but they still pose a threat. They’re absent of official logos or branding and are poorly written, making them easier to spot.

The Norton scam email was sent from a personal email address and uses the wrong currency. It also grossly inflates the cost of subscription: it quotes $542.68 (almost £400) – the actual UK cost of Norton 360 protection is £124.99 for an annual subscription.

These emails are trying to convince people that they have these antivirus products and that they need to be renewed to protect your device. They want you to think that your devices are unprotected and vulnerable.

Both McAfee and Norton have dedicated pages on their websites informing people of the potential scam emails out there claiming to be from them. 

When we made Norton aware of the email a spokesperson confirmed that the email did not originate from them, they said:

“NortonLifeLock is a trusted name in consumer Cyber Safety. We encourage consumers to be vigilant and monitor for phishing attempts, where, commonly, cybercriminals attempt to take advantage of the trusted reputation built by companies and public bodies, to try and trick and defraud consumers.

Any NortonLifeLock customer with a concern should contact our customer support teams, while we also provide helpful tips and techniques for identifying and reporting phishing on our website.”

We reached out to McAfee but it did not respond.

Continue to report phishing emails

You can report phishing email attempts to Action Fraud or you can send them on directly to the National Cyber Security Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think you may have fallen victim to a phishing email, let your bank know what’s happened straight away.

Guide: how to spot a scam

Guide: how to get your money back after a scam

You can also help protect others from scams like this by making us aware of them using our Scams Sharer tool.

Have you received fake subscription renewal emails for antivirus products or other brands? Let us know in the comments.

Fiona Welsh says:
31 October 2021

Daily emails claiming MacAfee has expired , needs renewed or been renewed.

From an email address like my email address. When I block it (several times a day) it is a random gmail account. Block every time but it does not stop.

Tried to unsubscribe but it doesn’t make a difference.

Really annoying me now. Going to try reporting every time.

It’s best not to unsubscribe to receiving emails unless you have chosen to receive them. Unsubscribing confirms that someone is seeing the emails.

simon ball says:
31 October 2021

I’m receiving the same MacAfee expired reminders, several times a day. Also tried blocking and looking for a solution on the interweb, but for the 1st time…no joy.
Good luck

Toni Hills says:
1 November 2021

Same here. I’ve even tried using the reporting for phishing function and it doesn’t stop! ARGGH….!

rich26272@gmail.com says:
12 December 2021

I was getting the same but it stopped because I am in a different dispute with McAfee over its auto-renewal on accounts that no longer exist. This is what happened.

Bought a laptop from Argos in September 2018. It came downloaded with McAfee and Microsoft 365 included in the price. I used neither.

The laptop was cheap rubbish and I gave it away in November 2018.

Last September (2021) I discovered from my bank account that McAfee had been auto-renewing me for the McAfee account that I never used and never signed up to and right now I am preparing my case for Which?

Some companies continue auto-renewing long after an account has ceased to exist and that is in my opinion a very serious scam.

One man (Keith) changed his mobile phone company five years ago only to discover five years later that the original phone company failed to stop auto-renewals on the account that no longer existed.

Auto-renewal is open to abuse.

I am also receiving several mcafee emails a day. I am beginning to feel fairly desperate as to how to stop it

Clive Payne Mobile says:
4 November 2021

Me too. 3 scam emails each day from McAfee or scammers using their name. Reporting them and blocking them but they keep on coming.

I’m getting over 10 a day mainly McAfee and Norton but the gmail scammers have now started using Tesco and BT. You are lucky just getting three! I just mark them all as junk. Easy to spot as they are all cc’d to REV SHOPING

I’m also receiving Tesco and ASDA phishing emails along with McAfee and in one case McAAfee ! I must have won a fortune in vouchers !

Me too. Frustrating not to be able to block them.

Carol Rothwell says:
9 November 2021

I’m in Melbourne, Australia.
I am also receiving both of these scam emails every day. I’ve blocked them but they keep coming.
When I click on the Senders email address ‘McAfee Antivirus’ it opens up as
I am now just deleting them daily.

keep getting emails asking to renew my mcafee . they even know my name thats worrying i keep blocking them but still receive them driving me mad

I seem to be bombarded with them,then it goes quiet. They then start up again,there seems to be nothing that stops them

William Barrett says:
14 November 2021

I also receive several of these macafee and norton emails every day but norton is sometimes notron and macafee has two f’s

Andrew says:
15 November 2021

I even replied telling them in no uncertain terms to f*** off, but it bounces back. I could really do with being able to block these permanently

Leslie Evans says:
17 November 2021

i am receiving several a day and even tried blocking the Domain but still they come

Pearl says:
17 November 2021

Been receiving macafee phishing emails for some time. I’ve deleted them as unable to find any way to stop them. Recently started getting them from Norton and same problem, can’t stop them, grrr. Really annoying that nothing can be done to stop these especially when some poor souls will fall into the trap.

Marie Miles says:
18 November 2021

I get a few of these every day. I keep blocking the senders but it’s very frustrating. If anyone finds a solution please share

Barry says:
19 November 2021

I have been receiving McAfee and Norton scam emails twice or thrice on most days for over two months now. I move them all to my junk folder and then erase them. Annoying and time consuming but I don’t know what else I can do. I keep hoping the scammer will get fed up but obviously the email is automatically software generated on a regular basis. Any thoughts on how to stop these emails would be appreciated.

Have reported this to Bt.Receiving scam e/mails on a daily basis from so called Norton and Mcafee.
It’s source is through using Revshoping,I’m convinced they are passing on peoples details
WARNING.Do not use Revshoping I’m sure it’s a scam.

FTAO Which. Please remove my surname from my blog.

Donna says:
2 December 2021

I have been getting the same since I received a email off a Victoria stone saying I am getting compensation for a item I returned in store and I wasn’t treated fairly ever since I clicked on it I get the Norton and McAfee and loads of Tesco emails and some say someone tried to steal my data I don’t know if any are real or fake

Tanya Freeman says:
7 December 2021

Received an email today from ordertoday.me informing me that my account has been debited $365.00. Rang McAfee and they confirmed that it is a scam.
So sick of these emails and calls. These individuals are the scum of the earth.
I am located in Melbourne so I am tipping Ii am not the only one.

So, is it possible to stop or block these scam emails and if so how?

We have some guidance here that might help you – https://computing.which.co.uk/hc/en-gb/articles/115002105169-How-to-stop-spam

I get these same emails in quantity daily which, in itself, prove they are scams. Some ‘reliable’ company somewhere has let email addresses go or sold them (more like) for we have no proof of source and clearly the idea of ‘blocking’ on your providers site does not work (nor on may Mac) and, for this, providers need to take responsibility to ensure blocking actually means what it says – blocked, ie stopped.