Scareware is malicious software that tricks computer users into visiting malware-infested websites. Also known as deception software, rogue scanner software or fraudware, scareware may come in the form of pop-ups. These appear as legitimate warnings from antivirus software companies, and they claim your computer's files have been infected. They are so cleverly done that users are frightened into paying a fee to quickly purchase software that will fix the so-called problem. What they end up downloading, however, is fake antivirus software that is actually malware intended to steal the victim's personal data.
Fraudsters also use other tactics, such as sending out spam mail to distribute scareware. Once that email is opened, victims are then fooled into buying worthless services. According to Kaspersky Lab, falling for these scams and releasing your credit card information opens up the door for future identity theft crimes.