Scam Removal (Dec. 2018 Update)

Recently, a large number of online scams have started occurring with the help of a legitimate software service called and a software tool provided by that service named GoToAssist.exe. This service basically allows tech support operators to gain access to your PC and resolve different problems that you might have. However, dishonest cyber crooks seem to have been able to find a way to exploit and GoToAssist.exe for online scams. Down below, you will learn what the basic scheme of such scams is and what you need to be on the look out for in order to avoid falling prey to this type of shady agendas.

The gist of the scam

Now, we do not know how many groups of people are conducting the scam, it might be just one single group of scammers or there might be several of them. Regardless, the methods seems to be relatively similar in the majority of instances. Here, we have tried to provide you with a general analysis of how this scam works. We have separated it in four stages:

Stage 1

The scammers first need to establish some sort of contact with the targeted user. This might happen in different ways. For instance, you might have some issue with your PC and you might make a google search for the tech-support team that might be able to help you. However, some of the crooks behind the scheme seem to have managed to push their sites’ ratings up Google’s rating system meaning that many users might come across those sites while conducting searches relate to their issue. Some users who have been targeted by the scam even report that the scammers’ sites have been on the top of their Google search. Naturally, the first thing on would do is open the suggested result which would lead them directly to the cyber crook.

Another way that the scammers use in order to connect with potential victims is by utilizing browser hijacking programs and spamming victims with misleading pop-ups urging them to call a phone number and telling them that there’s some sort of issue with their PC while pretending to be representatives of some popular and legitimate company (such as Microsoft). If the user falls for the bait, the scam moves on to Stage 2. Scam Removal

If you have a Windows problem, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac issue, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.


Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.

Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).



Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous. 


Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:

Drag and Drop Files Here to Scan
Maximum file size: 128MB.

This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at:

Scan Results

Virus Scanner Result

After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders. 

Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections. 


Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.


You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.

Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:


Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.


Hold the Start Key and R –  copy + paste the following and click OK:

notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:

hosts_opt (1)

If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.

Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.

  1. Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click  Properties.
  2. The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
  3. Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.



  • After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.

Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.

NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).


Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.

ie9-10_512x512  Remove Scam from Internet Explorer:

Open IE, click  IE GEAR —–> Manage Add-ons.

pic 3

Find the threat —> Disable. Go to IE GEAR —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.

firefox-512 Remove Scam from Firefox:

Open Firefoxclick  mozilla menu  ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Scam from Chrome:

Close Chrome. Navigate to:

 C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:

Rename the Folder to Backup Default

Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.


Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.

Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random


Stage 2

Here’s where the service and the GoToAssist.exe program come into play. The targeted user is asked to visit this service’s site. Once there, the user is supposed to enter their name and a code that is provided to them by the scammer (note that in most cases, the online crook would be on the phone with their victim, “guiding” them through the process that is to follow while, as we said above, pretending to be a legitimate tech-support operator). Once the name and code have been entered, the user is prompted to download GoToAssist.exe – a software tool that while running provides remote access to the PC for the tech operator (in this case, the scammer). After the tool is downloaded and run on the PC, the customer would be prompted to allow the beginning of a session with the operator where the latter would gain access to the computer. If the victim agrees, Stage 3 is initiated.

Stage 3

Once the crook has gained remote access through the service, they would typically download and install some other software on the targeted PC. According to user reports, the said software downloaded by the scammers has detected certain issues within the PC. This leads us to believe that whatever the crooks download is some sort of fake anti-malware program that is supposed to intimidate the scam’s victims by reporting detected malware or some other type of software-related issues.

Stage 4

Once the (fake) warning about the malware/other problems inside the PC have been shown to the user, the scammer informs them that the only way to resolve the (non-existent) problem is to buy some license from them for some other program (or for the full version of the same program). This last stage is actually a very common practice that many cyber fraudsters use in order to trick users into buying some piece of questionable software that is probably not needed on the PC so that a certain issue with the computer can be resolved – an issue that has never really been there to begin with.

Our advice

More experienced and tech-savvy users should usually have no problem recognizing the scam and shutting it down in its early stages. However, everybody can make a mistake from time to time, especially if you aren’t very well-oriented in the online world. In order to stay safe and make sure that you don’t fall for such scams, it is essential that you use your common sense and only trust people that can verify that they are who they claim to be. For instance, if someone calls you and claims that your PC is in danger and you need to do something about it, it doesn’t matter if this person claims that they work for Microsoft – they cannot verify that and, besides, no reputable software company would ever do that. Just stay smart and do not trust random people online just because they have told you that your machine needs fixing. Also, if you have recently been subjected to such a scam, we advise you to uninstall the GoToAssist.exe program in order to ensure that no one has unauthorized access to your PC. So far, we haven’t received any reports about stolen personal data or computers infected by malware as a result of this fraudulent scheme but it’s still better to be on the safe side and make sure that the crooks no longer have any kind of access to your computer. 


Type PUP
Danger Level Low (Usually nothing too serious, however it all depends on what had been installed on your device.)
Symptoms You might have software on your PC that you definitely do not need and you’d better remove.
Distribution Method Misleading pop-up messages, adverts etc.
Detection Tool

Keep in mind, SpyHunter’s malware detection tool is free. To remove the infection, you’ll need to purchase the full version.
More information about SpyHunter and steps to uninstall.


If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!



  • There are warnings before the fastsupport scam hits. I had Chrome open, when I clicked a link it would open – with an unrelated window opening first that was an ad. I was trying to figure out why this was happening, either before or after I downloaded free files from Cyberlink – a legitimate company/site. I believe they somehow cause this to happen first, to make you think you have a problem. Then all windows locked, a red box, with white text said there’s a Chrome security problem & to call “Microsoft.” I called just to learn what they’re doing – a woman with a heavy accent said she was from Microsoft, asked me to open the “Run” function and enter “iexplore” then a number & I hung up. NEVER allow access to your system from someone contacting you – only if you request it for tech.

Leave a Comment