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Customers Complaining About Unexpected Popup Ads on Your Bank or Credit Union Website?


Erin Sherrill

By Erin Sherrill


Getting complaints about popup ads on your bank or credit union website even though your website doesn't contain any popup ads? Often website owners immediately think their website has been hacked, but often the root cause is actually very different.

Adware or Malware on a Visitor's Computer Makes You Look Bad

There is a very good chance the root cause of the popup ads certain customers are seeing when visiting your website are generated by a clever form of browser adware/malware that is installed on the visitor's computer. These sketchy, and sometimes malicious, programs detect when a person visits particular types of websites, such as a bank or credit union website, by either comparing the domain name to a list of known bank & credit union website domain names, or by searching for particular keywords in the website content, such as "bank" or "credit union." The program then displays a personalized ad, using the bank or credit union name of the website the visitor is on to make the ad appear legitimate. The popup ads usually lure the visitor to a different website where there may be more advertising or even forms designed to collect personal information.

How to Determine Whether it's Your Website or Your Visitor

If your customer service team receives questions or complaints about popup ads from customers, ask these questions to determine if the problem is on your website or if instead it's likely a malware or adware program installed on the visitor's computer:

  1. Are all visitors to the website seeing the popup ads?
  2. Is there any unrecognized JavaScript or other code on your website?
  3. Has your website been blacklisted by any trustworthy website reputation tracking databases?

If the anaswer to all of these questions is NO, then there is a good possibility that the ads are being generated by software intsalled on the visitor's computer and not from your website.

How to Help Customers

We highly recommend you suggest to customers to use a trusted and reliable website malware scanner to perform an exhaustive check of their computers. One such software that has historically been reliable is https://www.malwarebytes.com/ Often users install this malware or adware on their computers by way of Chrome or Firefox browser extensions that they THINK are safe, but really are just a conduit for delivering this kind of annoying advertising....or worse.

Finally, for a more in-depth description of one such example of this type of adware, see this writeup  https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-viewmypdf-ads-chrome-adware-extension 

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