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Spotting A Fake Renewal Notice

Saturday, September 10th, 2016 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help, Security Help

I heard from a reader who received a renewal notice that had her puzzled. It said that it was time to renew her security software, but she’s only just activated her subscription to Iolo System Mechanic’s PC Total Care. That subscription is good for an entire year. Let’s take a look at the notice.


It does look similar to an actual renewal notice. And look! There’s a 75% discount if you renew now.  But let’s take a closer look.  Notice anything unusual?  Nowhere does it say the name of the software that you are renewing. Have you ever known a company that didn’t want to mention the name of its product?  And no company logo? That’s  very strange. Also, check out that date. There’s no year. Real renewal notices tend to count down. They say something like, “you have 14 days left on your subscription.”  Also, this email arrived in September, so an August expiration date would be odd.

And just who is it from? Not Iolo, the company that makes System Mechanic. It’s not even from System Mechanic. If you think your software might actually be up for renewal, you’ll usually find that option in your program itself. Or you can just head over to the website for your security to check the status of your account.


And guess what else they don’t tell you? No price. So you might hit renew and put in your credit card information thinking you’re renewing your $20 or $100 per year security subscription and end up paying several hundred dollars.  Maybe they’ll offer you security software. Or may they’re just trying to get into your computer.

Congrats to our reader for being too smart to fall for it. Far too many people would just click it and find themselves  with a big bill.

~ Cynthia




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One Response to “Spotting A Fake Renewal Notice”

  1. Pat says:

    I just got a renewal from Geeks of Best Buy for my year contract for unlimited help and WebRoot. Their renewal charge shows a regular cost of $249 but I will have a discount of $120 ending up with a final cost of $129. Why then if I go to my Best Buy store will that same package cost me $200 as new and they can manipulate to make it become a renewal and that will cost me only $111? WHY? I called their Corporate Office and in two separate calls I never got an explanation for it. So do I gamble with doing their renewal and being out the $18 or do I gamble that getting it through the store will work. (Keep in mind – when you first buy the package you get WebRoot for three separate utilities – smartphone, computer, etc. Will the three WebRoots also be renewed? Can’t seem to get an answer to that question either.) Any ideas?

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