Watch Out For Software Scams

If your email inbox is anything like mine then your spam filter probably receives a good few offers of cheap software – I know I get over a dozen a day.


Advertised as “OEM” the prices stated are often far less than retail.

Does this mean they are trying to scam you though?

watch out for software scams

watch out for software scams

Firstly, what you have to realise is that software sales are often covered in detail by licensing agreements.

If you purchase or use software in a manner not covered by the licence then you are breaching it’s terms and are, effectively, breaking the law.

OEM products are almost always shipped with hardware.

So, if this OEM software is being offered as a standalone product then that should be a warning sign at least.

Software Scams

Other pointers that may indicate that the deal is a scam are –

  • The email makes a big point of telling you it’s legal – funnily enough this is usually a sign that it isn’t – genuine retailers wouldn’t need to labour this point.
  • There are disclaimers in the email that prohibit you from initiating a chargeback on any monies paid, or worse, a clause allowing the seller to sue should you attempt a chargeback.
  • The seller states that the software cannot be registered – this usually suggests that it is a copy.
  • There is no warranty available.
  • It is stated or implied that no updates will be available.

If you do decide to go ahead with the purchase then you may be taking some risks.

For instance, exposing your credit card details to a scammer at the time of purchase, a faulty product for which you have no means of recourse, a piece of software that contains a virus, trojan, etc designed to cause problems to your system or to install malicious code to extract your bank and other details.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] One way in which they achieve their nefarious means is through distributing counterfeit software. […]

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