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ScamZapper


 
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ScamZapper is not like most other pop-up blockers, as it targets a specific kind of pop-up: the worst kind. Some pop-ups will lock up Safari, claiming that your computer is infected by a virus and you need to call a bogus technical support number for help, and this is exactly what ScamZapper is designed to prevent. You can learn more about this scam in our support article here: A Browser Pop-up has Taken Over Safari. This is not a virus or adware, so anti-virus or adware software won't detect it. Furthermore, even pop-up blockers usually fail to stop these.

For some users, regaining access to Safari can be a daunting task. At the very least, the pop-ups are annoying, and usually cannot be dismissed like most pop-ups. With ScamZapper, we'll take care of the pop-up and prevent it from displaying in the first place. ScamZapper detects when a website tries to redirect you to one of the culprit websites which display these pop-ups, and sends you to page letting you know that the site has been blocked. You can then click your browser's back button to get back to the page you were trying to visit. 

Note that ScamZapper is not an ad blocker, but works great in conjunction with one. Please watch the video below to see what kinds of pop-ups ScamZapper blocks.

What happens if you run into a pop-up that isn't in ScamZapper's database? Don't worry! The ScamZapper Safari extension is designed to prevent the pop-ups from loading in the first place, but sometimes, they slip past. In the event that this happens, you can just launch the ScamZapper application, and choose "Troubleshoot Pop-up." You will be taken through automated troubleshooting steps that will get rid of it.


  


Instructions
Click Download below. An application will download. The default location is the Downloads folder, unless you changed it. When the application runs for the first time, it will offer to install the extension.



You should see this prompt. Click Install, and that's it. Verify ScamZapper has been installed and enabled by opening Safari, then going to Safari > Preferences > Extensions (don't click on "Safari Extensions" from the Safari menu, as this will take you to a page to download other extensions). Then, it will block pop-ups from sites that are in its database.




Should you happen to come across such a pop-up (hopefully you won't), and it is in ScamZapper's database, the extension will take care of it automatically.

Other Information
The download link will start a download of the ScamZapper application. When you run it, it will install the Safari extension. The application also has other functions, such as reporting scams or troubleshooting "virus" scam pop-ups that the extension didn't catch.


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Version History
  • 2.0.6
    • Stability improvements
  • 2.0.5
    • Fixes an issue moving ScamZapper to the Applications folder
    • Safari extension speed improvements
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 2.0.4
    • Refinements to the algorithms for the Safari extension's Aggressive Mode to greatly reduce, and potentially eliminate, the possibility of a false positive
  • 2.0.3
    • Minor text and alignment fixes
    • We are aware that Aggressive Mode is blocking a small number of legitimate sites. We are working on improving the algorithm to make sure that these sites are not falsely detected. In the meantime, we have temporarily whitelisted some popular websites that fulfilled Aggressive Mode's blocking criteria
  • 2.0.2
    • Equips Aggressive Mode to handle a new scammer tactic
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 2.0.1
    • Fixes an issue where ScamZapper may be unable to read its preferences, resulting in a crash
    • Fixes an issue where users could not use the in-app option to move ScamZapper to the Applications folder
    • Fixes an issue where users with a non-Retina display might see buttons with missing or cut off text
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 2.0
    • Redesigned user interface (Intel version only)
    • New Aggressive Mode for the Safari extension
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.9
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.8
    • ScamZapper will now remain open after you report a new scam
    • Fixes an issue where ScamZapper would close after clicking a button in the "More Actions" menu
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.7
    • Re-enables the ability to report new scam alert sites
    • ScamZapper is now signed with a Developer ID, so there are no more "Unidentified Developer" messages to contend with
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.6
    • Some dialogs are now more descriptive
  • 1.4.5
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.4
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.3
    • More improvements to the update process
    • Reliability improvements on older OS X versions
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.2
    • Improves reliability of checking for updates
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4.1
    • The application will now auto-check for updates
    • New icon
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.4
    • When it blocks a scam, the Safari extension can now show you what URL was blocked
    • Should fix some issues related to reporting new scams
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.6
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.5
    • Miscellaneous big fixes
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.4
    • ScamZapper offers to move itself to your Applications folder
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.3
    • Prompt to sign up for notifications about ScamZapper updates (optional but recommended)
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.2
    • Fixes an issue where some 1.3.1 users could not open the extension
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3.1
    • Prevents duplicate scam reports
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.3
    • Displays a notification in Notification Center when the extension is installed or a scam is reported (Intel version)
    • Adds support for older OS X versions (without the extension) (Power PC version)
    • Fixes an issue where the password prompt would appear too soon (Power PC version)
    • Adds clarification for what type of website to report
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2.6
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2.5
    • Adds a crash reporting feature
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2.4
    • Fixes an issue where a small percentage of users could not open the extension.
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
    • NOTE: the application name is now "ScamZapper" and not "ScamZapper Helper"
  • 1.2.3
    • Fixes an issue for the Power PC version where it couldn't turn off Ethernet during troubleshooting
    • Users no longer have to restart the application after installing the extension to access the main menu
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2.2
    • Fixes an issue for the Power PC version where it couldn't turn off Wi-Fi during troubleshooting
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2.1
    • Improvements to automated troubleshooting
    • Fixes an issue with checking for updates
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.2
    • Includes automated troubleshooting if you encounter a pop-up that doesn't get blocked and you can't get rid of it. Click "Troubleshoot Pop-up" from the main menu of the ScamZapper application
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.1.4
    • Allows reporting multiple scam webpages at the same time (please use a comma-seperated list)
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.1.3
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.1.2
    • Fixes an issue where ScamZapper may encounter an error if Safari was not open
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.1.1
    • Performance improvements
    • Fixes an issue where the helper program may time out if Safari is slow to launch
    • Fixes an issue where the dialog asking for your password appeared twice
    • Fixes an issue where reporting a new scam may claim that a valid URL is invalid
    • Includes a backup copy of the extension in case the download gets corrupted
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.1
    • New icon
    • Redesigned "scam blocked" webpage, including the ability to return to the page you visited before the scam page
  • 1.0.6
    • Fixes an issue when checking for updates
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0.5
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0.4
    • Adds "More Actions" button
    • More improvements to the scam reporting function
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0.3
    • Fixes a permissions issue when ScamZapper checks for updates the first time it is run
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0.2
    • Improves new scam reporting
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0.1
    • Enables the helper application to check for updates
    • Updates the database of scam pop-ups
  • 1.0
    • Initial Release

Requirements
  • Intel version
    • Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later
    • At least 2.1MB of free disk space
  • Power PC version
    • Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) through 10.5.8 (Leopard)
    • Safari 5.0 or later for the Safari extension (10.5 Leopard only)
    • At least 750KB of free disk space

Known Bugs
  • None for now! Yay!

Overall User Rating: [12 RATINGS] • See the breakdown



Comments (39):

By Anonymous75 on 2/08/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.3, Safari 8.0.3
I had ScamZapper check for update. It took me to:https://sites.google.com/site/appleclubfhs/downloads/scamzapper-info#update where it says 1.0.4 is available. I click download but ScamZapper Helper is downloaded, not a .safariextz file for updating the Safari extension. I am at a loss as to how to get the extension itself.

in response to Anonymous75
By AppleClubSupport on 2/08/15 • Reply
As mentioned on this page, run the "helper" application, which will install the latest version of the Safari extension if it is newer than the currently installed version.

By Anonymous76 on 2/12/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.4, Safari 6.1.6
It's about time someone came up with this, it should be integrated in Safari.

Thank You! 5 stars!!!!!

By Anonymous77 on 2/14/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.4, Safari 8.0.3
I installed ScamZapper to deal with safarisecurityalert.com (I see this on your list of scam sites). But I still get pop-ups from this site. I've verified that ScamZapper is installed in Safari.

in response to Anonymous77
By AppleClubSupport on 2/15/15 • Reply
Two possibilities: 1) It has not been added to ScamZapper yet. Just because it appears in our support article does not mean it has been added to ScamZapper's scam definitions. It will get added in the next update, which typically occur once or twice weekly, provided there are at least a few new scam sites discovered. 2) The website's host became aware of the scam, and canceled their domain. ScamZapper cannot check whether a page is a scam or not if the page's server is not found.

By Anonymous78 on 2/24/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.4, Safari 8.0
The best app ever. I even tried it on the website in the add and i blocked it

By Anonymous79 on 3/03/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.6, Safari 8.0.3
keep trying to report the following site as a pop-up site and the scamzapper helper app is saying it's not a valid URL.

http://www.pcassists.info/atpnes/page11.html

go to that site and you get an immediate pop-up that can't be dismissed. 1

in response to Anonymous79
By AppleClubSupport on 3/11/15 • Reply
Thanks for letting us know. We can reproduce this issue and will include a fix when version 1.1.1 comes out. It works OK for ".com" domains.

By Anonymous80 on 3/10/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.0.6, Safari 8.0.3
there are many pop-ups that aren’t blocked. One is maccycle.com Where do I post these new urls?

in response to Anonymous80
By AppleClubSupport on 3/11/15 • Reply
Open the ScamZapper Helper application, and click on Report a New Scam. Understand that ScamZapper is not a dedicated pop-up blocker, it only targets this specific kind of scam "virus" pop-up. So if you are seeing ads pop up, for example, those will not be blocked.

By Anonymous81 on 3/11/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.1, Safari 8.0.3
The Safari extension is MISSING from the version 1.1 installer.

in response to Anonymous81
By AppleClubSupport on 3/11/15 • Reply
No it is not. We've replied to your email.

By Anonymous82 on 3/12/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.1, Safari 7.0.6
Can confirm that the download does in fact contain the extension, as it should.

By ELC on 4/09/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.1.2, Intel
I cannot install the application on my computer. It tells me that the application comes for a no identify developer. Can you help me? Thank you.

in response to ELC
By AppleClubSupport on 4/09/15 • Reply
Right click on ScamZapper and choose "Open." If you have any more questions, a good place to look would be our Knowledge Base: https://sites.google.com/site/appleclubfhs/downloads/kb.

By Scott on 5/25/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.2.2, Safari 8.0.6
I have been using ScamZapper for a few days. It is already doing it's job well. This is a great little piece of software. Thanks guys.

By LedHed on 6/05/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.2.3, Intel
When I try to run it, I get "/bin/sh: line 0: cd: /Users/gkl/Desktop/ScamZapper: No such file or directory
Error opening xar archive: ScamZapper.safariextz"

in response to LedHed
By AppleClubSupport on 6/06/15 • Reply
Only one or two other users reported this and we could not reproduce it on several Macs. However, we tried to fix it, so see if the 1.2.4 update works.

in response to AppleClubSupport
By LedHed on 6/07/15 • Reply
I figured it out.  I had trouble downloading, so I ended up with multiple copies with numbers appended to the file names.  Your app installed after I edited the file name I was using to install.

in response to LedHed
By AppleClubSupport on 6/07/15 • Reply
That's good to know. However, updating to 1.2.4 (if you haven't already) is still a good idea, as it adds new scam pop-up websites to ScamZapper's database.

By Randy B. Singer on 6/14/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.2.5, Intel
I really appreciate ScamZapper, but there is a potential solution to the ransom-ware problem that just about every Mac user already has installed on their computer. If more users got behind it, ransom-ware might disappear practically overnight.

Safari, Firefox and Chrome all have Google's "Safe Browsing" technology already built-in.
Safe Browsing warns users to stay away from poisoned Web sites, drive-by downloads, and phishing sites.

http://www.macworld.com/article/137094/2008/11/safari_safe_browsing.html

http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/safebrowsing/

Google constantly pushes out updates to their warning list. They say that a reported site is checked, and if necessary added to the list within an hour. If users diligently reported sites that they encounter that contain ransom-ware, it wouldn't take long for it to be neutralized.

If you encounter a Web site with scare-ware/ransom-ware, etc., you should report the site here:

Report Malware
https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/report_badware/

Report Phishing
https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/report_phish/

in response to Randy B. Singer
By AppleClubSupport on 6/14/15 • Reply
Google's Safe Browsing is a valuable feature, but I've never seen any domains get added terribly quickly. Besides, the whole point of these scams is to be deceptive, and not everyone would think to report the site. Still, we appreciate your insight and those are good suggestions.

in response to Randy B. Singer
By MrXYZ on 7/15/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.3.1, Safari 7.1.7
Randy, I recently ran into a scam pop-up and Safari's Safe Browsing feature did not provide a warning prior to loading the website. I am computer-literate and try to keep up on things but I hadn't heard of these scams before reading the latest edition of TidBITS. Fortunately, I didn't need to know about the scam specifics to know that I shouldn't respond to the pop-up's threats...

So solutions such as ScamZapper are a valuable addition to our digital toolboxes to protect us when Google's blacklist hasn't been updated to include the latest affected websites.

By Thanks on 6/24/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.2.6
Thank you! Super-effective extension. Thank you!

By doubleh on 7/29/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.3.3, Safari 7.1.7
i am trying to install ScamZapper and I get the message: "ScamZapper.app" can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer. And below in smaller type: Your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the Mac App Store and unidentified developers.
I've had the dreaded pop-up happen twice in the last 5 months and want prevent this happening again if possible. I looked at preferences: Security and see these four checked: Fraudulent sites: Warn when visiting a fraudulent site / Web content: Enable JavaScript ... Block pop-up windows / Internet plug-ins: Allow Plug-ins.
What should I do to download this app? Thank you in advance. doubleh

in response to doubleh
By AppleClubSupport on 7/29/15 • Reply
From the download page:

"You may get a message about the app being from an unidentified developer. If so, right click on the application and choose "Open.""

That should get you up and running.

in response to AppleClubSupport
By doubleh on 7/29/15 • Reply
so I right clicked to open the app. Clicked install and get:
You are using Mac OSX 10.9.5. ScamZapper's Safari extension requires Mac OS X 10.5. You can still use this application to get rid of or report pop-ups, but its Safari extension is not supported. ...two window ... cancel and ok. I hit ok. then this:
What would you like to do? "More Actions" / "Report a New Scam" / "Troubleshoot a Pop-Up". To quit, click on More Actions and Quit.
I chose Quit ... then another window: ScamZapper wants to make changes. Type your password to allow this. I did. OK.
Then: ScamZapper has determined that its Safari extension has not been installed. If you are opening it for the first time, this is normal. Click OK to installed it. So I hit OK.
Then window: Safari can't find the file.
What to do? Should I have quit Safari before installing?
Thanks

in response to AppleClubSupport
By doubleh on 7/29/15 • Reply
hey ... duh ... I was downloading the Power PC version ... saw page directing me to Intel ... works! Sorry for my mistake. Thanks!
doubleh

in response to doubleh
By AppleClubSupport on 7/29/15 • Reply
I was just about to suggest that. 😉

Glad you got it sorted out.

By whyisdaddy on 8/05/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.3.3, Safari 9.0
This is the bomb when it comes to stopping those pesky redirects.

By woodvr15 on 8/17/15 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.3.4, Intel, Safari 8.0.7
So when I go to my applications I see Scamzapper. I right click and then "Show Package Contents", click "Contents" folder, click "Resources" folder, double click "ScamZapper.safariextz" and nothing happens. When I look at my safari extensions under preferences in safari ScamZapper isn't there. What do I do?

in response to woodvr15
By AppleClubSupport on 8/17/15 • Reply
Why are you going into the package contents instead of launching the application and letting it install the extension on its own? Now that you've tried unsuccessfully to install it manually, you'll probably need to redownload ScamZapper.

By dmcb on 2/04/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.4.6, Safari 9.0.3
the popup that got me today was not in your list - helpmacintosh.com is how they identified themselves..... phone #s: 1-646-583-3418 or1-888-398-6257. Thanks very much for your help.

By applepersonmedia on 2/15/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.4.5, Safari 9.0.2
I found a New Block Site.

highplanet.com

By Pearly on 5/16/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.4.8
It's saved me lots of headaches and time. Works well by releasing safari from hostage ware and heads some of it off before the abduction.

By macpug on 5/16/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 1.4.9, Safari 6.1.6
Thanks SO MUCH! I handle tech support for my extended family, and these scams locking out Safari have been such a nuisance. I'm thrilled I found your article and your app. Making a donation for saving me hours from having to reinstall multiple systems. This should be integrated into popular web browsers. Excellent! 5 stars!

By Farley on 8/08/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 2.0.2
ScamZapper has suddenly started blocking access to Yahoo Mail but not to any other Yahoo service.

in response to Farley
By AppleClubSupport on 8/10/16 • Reply
Yes, we are aware that a small number of legitimate sites are getting blocked. This was mentioned elsewhere on our website, that our new technology has the consequence of introducing the possibility of false positives - though again, this is not a widespread issue. If a website happens to have code in their script that resembles code used by scam webpage orchestrators, then yes, those sites will be blocked. If you depend on such a website, then you do not need to disable ScamZapper, you can simply turn off Aggressive Mode in Safari preferences for ScamZapper. This way it will still block known scams in our database. We are working on altering our algorithms to greatly reduce, and hopefully eliminate, false positives. The next update should take care of that.

By DerekCurrie on 8/29/16 • Reply
ScamZapper 2.0.3, Safari 9.1.2
Installing 2.0.3, it didn't replace the version already running in Safari, v1.4.4. Instead, it installed v2.0.3 successfully, but left v1.4.4 installed and running. I expect this is not desirable. I had to manually disable version 1.4.4. IOW: Installer bug. 
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