I paid for a version of MacKeeper which may be a mistake. Their tech wants me to allow them to access my computer as in have access to my desktop files, etc. They say it is to fully license and engage the program . I have not done it as of yet.

Is this typical when activating? I'm not comfortable letting them have control of my computer

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    There's a lot of questions about MacKeeper - should it get its own tag? (Having a tag != endorsement of a legitimacy) – Andrew Grimm May 15 at 2:43
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    This screams 'scam' to me. – Vincent May 15 at 3:09
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    MacKeeper is a scam even without a person asking for full access to your computer. – BallpointBen May 15 at 3:11
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    Good job asking before doing so! – Jared Smith May 15 at 12:34
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    @AndrewGrimm and everytime someone uses the tag an answer gets automatically generated saying "uninstall it" – Aequitas May 18 at 1:37

Do not do this.

There is exactly zero reasons a tech, or anyone for that matter, would need remote access to your computer to "fully license and engage a program."

That phrasing alone is more than enough to elicit a high degree of skepticism of the intention and/or competence of the "tech" who is looking to access your computer.

And...giving the "tech" the benefit of the doubt and assuming his motives are genuine; how good can this software be that it needs special handling to activate?

Bottom line...

You don't need this software, avoid it.

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    I couldn't agree more! I wish I could upvote this answer more than once! – Monomeeth May 15 at 1:59
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    Absolutely - correct answer to be followed. – Solar Mike May 15 at 4:10
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    Ehh... in this scenario I would agree. I see MacKeeper I see scam, but there are many instances where a technician would want to view your screen to assist a client. Even Apple does this. – JBis May 15 at 4:21
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    The only time someone would ever do this — aside from you explicitly hiring them to install or troubleshoot your computer — is when the computer belongs to some organization which doesn't allow you to do the things the IT person is doing. – can-ned_food May 15 at 4:21
  • Good Lord Almighty, I hate MacKeeper. MalwareBytes is so much safer and actually does what it claims to do. Any Apple users in the future who read this, avoid MacKeeper at all costs. Nice Answer Allan, +1. – E. Huckabee May 23 at 8:11

MacKeeper IS Malware. Run MalwareBytes on your Mac and it will remove MacKeeper. Here's what you need to do:

  • Uninstall MacKeeper as best you can
  • Run MalwareBytes to get any pieces of it you missed
  • Tell the "tech" to... this website doesn't like cursing, so just tell him something off-color
  • Call your credit card company and tell them you were scammed and all of the MacKeeper charges were scams - which they were, that software is all scam. It performs no useful functions, it just slows your computer to a halt, installs other malware, and tries to get you to pay them money for the privilege.
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    I'm not sure of the ethics surrounding calling your bank to report a series of charges (you literally authorized) as "scams" because you changed your mind/came to your senses/had buyer's remorse. Though, I don't think there's much to be gained in disputing charges unless they were unauthorized or otherwise represent some kind of bank fraud. – Darren May 15 at 12:46
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    @Darren Well, at a certain level, you paid for a program that would secure, clean, protect and optimize your computer (Wikipedia), and it didn't because it was a scam. I wouldn't have any problem getting my money back any way I could. That being said, you might not have much luck with the credit card companies/banks because it might very well be a legitimate transaction, despite not being a legitimate product. – Cullub May 15 at 14:40
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    @dramzy A more apt comparison would be if you hire a plumbing company to fix a problem with your pipes but instead of fixing your pipes you now suddenly have leaks springing from random points in your walls. If you're contracted to do X and you either don't do it or actively make the problem worse, you've not delivered your end of the bargain. – Cronax May 15 at 15:08
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    @Bakuriu Credit cards offer (as a service to the consumer, and as a condition of use for the seller) a means to recover fraudulent charges or charges for "services not rendered". No reason not to use it if you can. – mbrig May 15 at 20:58
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    Unless you purchased MacKeeper knowing it was malware, and knowing it was going to harm your computer, then it's not a case of buyer's remorse. You were tricked and mislead into buying something that is harming your computer, while the advertising claims it will "fix" it. It is a scam and I wouldn't hesitate to try to get any money back you gave them. As @mbrig said, credit cards come with consumer protection. Use it here. – l008com May 16 at 0:01

Scam. Scam. Scam. Scam....

There is never - as in absolutely never ever until the sun boils and the earth burns - why an unsolicited request to access your computer from someone you don't know and haven't voluntarily asked (other than clearly genuine police and customs officials) should be anything except a scam.

No legitimate software needs it. No legitimate system you are likely to use (Mac, Windows, Linux, BSD, or anything else) ever needs or expects it. No legitimate software company (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Kaspersky, Adobe, or any other OS or software creator) ever asks or requests it. No legitimate ISP, firewall, security, networking, or landline/mobile/cable telecoms company ever phones or emails to ask for it. Nobody legitimate will ever telephone you "out of the blue" to advise that your computer has a problem or needs urgent attention due to a computer issue. No legitimate antivirus or anti-malware needs it.

The sun will die, Donald Trump will be married to Vladimir Putin, and protons will evaporate (estimated 10^34 ish years) before a request like the kind you describe is genuine and anything more than "can we persuade someone to let us access their data and install malware".

It doesn't matter what pretext or explanation they give, or how urgent it sounds - and the more jargon and urgency, the more likely that you're being called by a scammer. (Denying time to think by making it sound extremely important is a classic scammer trick)

If you want more information, it's a variant on this Microsoft service phone call scam, or this suspicious activity phone call scam, or this FTC page on tech support scams.

I don't know how to say it more directly :) But that's the bottom line.

Well done on pausing and not "diving in".

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    This answer is unclear. Are you suggesting MacKeeper might be a scam? – Darren H May 15 at 11:57
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    Whether he suggested it or not, it was clear to me (from their uncivilized advertising methods) that it is a scam. – WGroleau May 15 at 12:19
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    @Darren-H ..... :) – Stilez May 15 at 15:20
  • I've got to ask...why would you give police and customs officials remote access to your computer? In the US, they would just seize your computer but only with a warrant (court order). Is this something common in other countries, to grant remote access to government officials? – Allan May 17 at 14:54
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    Hah, I joined this community just to say this: "No legitimate software company (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Kaspersky, Adobe, or any other OS or software creator) ever asks or requests it." -- Of course they never ask for it. They just plain do it: "To improve the quality of the services they offer to you", without asking or you knowing it:) – brett May 19 at 22:07

It may not even be MacKeeper. It could be scammers pretending to be MacKeeper, with the same end-goal as the Microsoft tech support scam: to gain control of your computer.

Why on earth would scammers pretend to be a known-awful product? To filter out the skeptical/savvy who will waste their time, so only the gullible get through. They know perfectly well that "Nigerian" is associated with "scam" to most people, so they intentionally claim to be Nigerian when they are not even running their scam from Africa. It's so anyone experienced goes 'Nope' and they only get responses from the very dumb.

So in this case, substitute MacKeeper for Nigeria.

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    +1 for mentioning that citing the trappings of a known scam is a great way to filter for gullible people. – arp May 17 at 6:39
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    You know what's funny though? some malware on osx installs mackeeper! They pay the best royalties apparently. – Lassi Kinnunen May 21 at 3:27

Lots of other answers go on to rightfully focus on the scam-ish aspects of the MacKeeper world. And Harper points out you might not even have a legitimate copy of MacKeeper and how anyone demanding access via phone is a scammer. But there is a much simpler answer to this question that you yourself provided:

I paid for a version of MacKeeper which may be a mistake.

If you yourself are stating that something might be a mistake, it is a mistake. Go with your gut and trust your instincts on this one.

Now at this point, you already paid for MacKeeper. Which is one level of mistake. See how you can uninstall it and perhaps get a refund for the purchase. But don’t take the next step and dive deeper into this nonsense. They—whoever is on the other end of the phone—might be aggressive in trying to get you to give them access, but don’t fall for it.

And heck, if this is a fraudulent version of MacKeeper—which is questionable software itself—then try to uncover that. If it is indeed a fake piece of software, then you can contact your credit card company and claim a refund based on fraud.

But at the end of the day, you are experiencing a rightful fit of buyer’s remorse. Just be sure you don’t go any deeper into this nonsense.

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