OS X and iOS: Get Rid of Safari Scam Pop-Ups

Tons of people lately have contacted me when they’ve gotten evil-looking pop-ups in Safari that they can’t seem to dismiss. Here’s an example:

Information has been redacted to protect the guilty.

In this case, it didn’t matter whether the recipient clicked “Stay on Page” or “Leave Page”—the pop-up would reappear, seemingly taking over the browser. And since a lot of people use the “resume” feature in OS X, even quitting Safari and reopening it may not do any good, which scares the pants off of people (and rightfully so). Heck, one user who contacted me had an audio alert as well, so I could hear his Mac shouting the equivalent of “Danger, Will Robinson!” at top volume in the background. I have to say that I really, really hate the buttheads who try to take advantage of folks in this way. 

Yeah, “buttheads.” That’s the word I mean.

So in any case, it’s simple to force Safari to temporarily stop picking up where it left off, at least if you know how. What you’ll do is quit the program (or force-quit it using Command-Option-Escape if it’s locked up so badly that you can’t even quit it normally). Then hold down the Shift key and click on its icon in the Dock.

That’ll make Safari discard the windows and tabs it had open, which means you’ll be free of the terrible pop-up. Whew.

Under iOS, you may have to mess around just a bit more to find the easiest way to stop any pop-ups that won’t go away. First, try double-clicking the Home button to bring up the multitasking view, and then you can swipe Safari up and off the screen to close it.

If that doesn’t work, try closing the misbehaving tab. Do so by touching the Tab button within Safari. 

Then swipe the page in question to the left or tap its “x” in the corner:

Finally, if all else fails, you can reset Safari by going to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data.

This should be your last resort, as doing that means you’ll lose your Web history, and you’ll have to log in again to any sites you’ve set to remember you. Unfortunately, though, this may be what has to happen if all else fails. Now, does anyone want to grab pitchforks and go after whoever is trying to hook users with these scams? I’ll bring the tar and feathers.