Security firm Symantec claims more than 43 million people across the world have been tricked into installing scareware software from July 2008 to June 2009:
In the past 12 months, more than 40 million people across the world have been tricked into installing 'scareware' software. Specifically, criminals trick PC users into downloading a piece of software -- anti-virus and anti-spyware are two popular program types -- that are malicious pieces of software so they are able to acquire credit card information and other sensitive information.
In addition, some criminals create pop-up alerts telling PC users they face a serious risk, then offer fake anti-virus software that can be used to clean up the computer. The catch? The software costs money, and users still end up being compromised by the fake software.