How to Stop Scam Pop-Ups in Mozilla Firefox

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This guide will help you get rid of scam pop-ups you may be getting in Mozilla Firefox. These steps can also optimize your computer's performance, improve its privacy and prevent it from getting infected with malware.
Mozilla Firefox.

What are "scam" pop-ups?

Browser-based tech support scam "warnings" are becoming increasingly more common. They are designed to look official, pretending to be from Microsoft, Google, your internet provider, or another legitimate company.

These messages will claim that your computer is infected, that your data is at risk, or that your computer has been "blocked" because it has been hacked. At the end of their scary warning, they will provide a telephone number and urge you to contact them for support.

There is most likely nothing wrong with your computer.

Fake virus popup.

These are false messages designed specifically to frighten you into contacting the provided fraudulent "support" line, where an individual will attempt to sell you unnecessary support services or software, and will ask to remotely control your computer. By no means should you ever call one of these numbers or let them remotely control your computer.

In the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your computer. Unfortunately, the way these browser-based tech support scams are displayed, they can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to close via traditional means.

The following steps will walk you through terminating your browser to clear such messages, and help resolve other problems with pop-ups you may encounter.

When you're unable to close your internet browser the normal way or when it's not safe to close it the normal way, you can forcefully close it.

On a Windows PC
The following steps can be used to terminate any browser, but the examples below will demonstrate using Internet Explorer.
  1. Open the Windows Task Manager.
    Using the Taskbar
    • Using your right mouse button, right-click on your Taskbar. Then select Task Manager from the menu.
      Mouse with Right Mouse Button highlighted.
      Taskbar right-click menu with Task Manager highlighted.
    Using a Keyboard Shortcut
    • On your keyboard use Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
      Keyboard with Ctrl Shift and Esc highlighted
    Using the Lock Screen
    • You can do Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard, then click on Task Manager.
      PC Desktop Keyboard with Ctrl-Alt-Del highlighted.
      GINA Screen with Task Manager highlighted.
  2. Select your browser, then select End Task.
    Basic View
    Task Manager basic view with browser and End Task highlighted.
    Advanced View
    Task Manager advanced view with browser and End Task highlighted.
When you next open your browser, if you are asked to restore a session / pages, select No, or close the message.
On a Mac Computer

The following steps can be used to terminate any browser, but the examples below will demonstrate using Safari.

  1. Select the (1) Apple menu, then (2) Force Quit.
    Apple menu with Force Quit highlighted.
  2. Select the (1) browser you want to close from the list, and select (2) Force Quit.
    Force Quit dialog with Safari and Force Quit button highlighted.
  3. You'll be prompted if you're sure, select Force Quit.
    Force Quit conformation with Force Quit highlighted.

When you next open your browser, if you are asked to restore a session / pages, select No, or close the message.

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
    Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Select the Menu button located in the top right corner of the window.
    Menu.
  3. Select Library.
    Firefox Menu with Library highlighted.
  4. Select History.
    Library with History highlighted.
  5. Select Clear Recent History.
    History with Clear Recent History highlighted.
  6. For Time range to clear, select Everything. Then select Clear Now.
    Clear history with Time range and Clear Now button highlighted.
  1. Open your browser, and visit the website you had problems with at the start.
    Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Make sure the page loads properly, and try following a few of the links from the page.

    If you are seeing pop-ups on one webpage, but not on others it means that the website you're using has advertising built-into it on purpose.

    • You can choose to continue to use the web site, understanding that this is their advertising method.
    • You can contact the website administrator to ask them to change their advertising method.
    • You can stop using the page.

Extensions provide extra features to Firefox. Sometimes, these Extensions are not coded well, break after a Firefox update, or because they change the way Firefox works in a malicious way to show you advertisements.

Disabling or removing unneeded or unwanted Extensions can help resolve these problems.

It is recommended to delete all unwanted Extensions, then disable all other Extensions, then test the browser, then enable your wanted extensions one by one, testing each time to find the extension that's causing problems.

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
    Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Select the Menu button located in the top right corner of the window.
    Menu.
  3. Select Add-ons.
    Menu with Add-ons highlighted.
  4. Select Extensions on the left.
    Addons.
  5. Here you'll see a list of extensions installed.
    Firefox Extensions.

Disable An Extension

Disabling an Extension will leave it installed, but entirely deactivated making it do nothing, but easy to re-enable later should you need it. This is best if you're not entirely sure what the extension is for.

  1. Select the Disable button to turn the extension off.
    Extension with Disable button highlighted.
  2. The extension will show as (disabled).
    Extension disabled.

Remove An Extension

It is best to remove any Extensions you see that relate to advertising, or that you know you do not use.

  1. Select the Remove button for an Extension you don't want.
    Extension with Remove button highlighted.
If you are a PST, follow the Escalation Process to PTE.
If you're still getting pop-ups after performing these basic troubleshooting steps, your computer will unfortunately require hands-on service to determine the root cause of this issue.
It Can't Happen Here