/ 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.

Mary says:
9 March 2022

I keep getting emails from McAfee for things I did not order

Jacquie Collins says:
30 March 2022

I’ve had several emails lately purportedly from Norton and McAfee telling me my subscription has either run out or is about to. They’re fairly amateur in nature, pretty colourful. They’re just addressed to the surname in my email address. They usually start with a foreign phrase such as Bien Venue. Look pretty dodgy to be honest. I’ve deleted them all.

Bjørg Bacher says:
31 March 2022

I get from Norton and Mcafee everyday, twice aday. After I blocked them as spam, they use my email account name as sender. What can I do??

Angela Dodwell Malloy says:
1 April 2022

I am inundated with mcafee emails, I usually click on the senders details and it gives me the email address & I can tell its fake, but the mcafee comes up as info@postode lottery, so I was unsure if it was fake. I havnt clicked on any of the links, as I do think it’s suspicious.