According to Google search records, there are millions of web searches for “Movie Maker” every month. The demand for search results about Windows Movie Maker is rapidly increasing at an astounding rate, which demonstrates the success of this particular scam campaign.
Microsoft’s free video-capturing and editing tool was made unavailable starting in January 2017.
This was the time when unscrupulous scammers introduced a fake “Windows Movie Maker” to the public, reaching out to a global audience within a short span of time.
Every time an individual searches for a “Movie Maker” or a “Windows Movie Maker,” the top search results will show the crooks’ website (windows-movie-maker.org) within the first few search positions, which enables unaware individuals to visit the website and be subjected to the scam.
How the Windows Movie Maker Scam Works
When any user visits the scammer’s site and downloads the fake Windows Movie Maker program, then they get a download that claims to be a trial version.
Unlike the genuine Movie Maker tool by Microsoft, the scammer’s version doesn’t offer features for free.
The prime reason why many people fall prey to this scam was the resemblance of this software to the original version. It was difficult for people to point out the difference between the original and the duplicate.
In order to get the benefits of the full Movie Maker tool, you will be asked to upgrade it by paying a discounted price of $29.95. This price is said to be offered after applying a discount of 25 percent.
When you try to save a file, a dialog box will appear that asks the user to upgrade the trial version by making the payment. This confuses the users and they think that saving a file is included in the premium version.
There are many users who have fallen prey to this and end up paying this amount.
How to Stay Safe from This Scam
If you have downloaded the Movie Maker program from the above-mentioned site, then you need to uninstall it at the earliest possible instance and run a scan on your device using a trusted antimalware solution.
Make your acquaintances aware of the scam and ask them not to download it from the scammer’s site. Online security is a big concern, and you need to follow precautionary measures from your end as well.
There are similar other online scams and you need to stay safe from them too.
Follow the below-mentioned points for your safety.
- Always download applications from a trusted official website. This reduces the risk that you’ll be downloading malicious content onto your device.
- Install a paid security solution so that the software not only detects malicious content but also blocks it on your device.
- Never make payments for a software or an application that was initially offered for free.
- The same rule from the last point applies if suspected scammers are asking you to upgrade your existing software/application. It is better that you check for official updates and download it from an official website only.
Demographics Affected by This Scam
The scam has hit many individuals in Israel and is still continuing to scam people all around the world, despite increased awareness being spread about it.
Though the scam has affected some individuals of almost every country, the highest scam reports have been received from Denmark, Finland and the Philippines. The scam managed to fool people because it looked like the exact original Windows Movie Maker.
No ransomware component or browser hijacker was identified with this software, which can be considered to be a plus point since the results could have been even more disastrous for the affected people who downloaded the program.
If you are a Windows fan and want to take advantage of a Movie Maker tool offered by Windows, then download their slick Story Remix tool, which was introduced by the company earlier this year as a replacement of the original Windows Movie Maker.
Given the sheer volume of search requests having to do with this scam, officials at Google need to address and eradicate such malicious content from their search results and protect their users.
Downloading applications or software programs from a reputable source is advised by security professionals to all users.
If you don’t want to fall prey to an online scam, then use the internet wisely and take precautionary measures from your end.