Programs that show false information to the user. The main purpose is to force victims to pay for software or services foisted on them. They do not directly damage the computer, but display messages saying that harm has been or will be caused, thereby informing the user of a danger that is not there.

These include, for example, programs that scare the user with notifications about registry errors or outdated drivers in order to receive payment for finding and fixing non-existent problems. As a rule, they show many unwanted notifications and make the user sufficiently paranoid to pay up. Sometimes hoax apps impede the normal operation of the computer, for example, by adding multiple objects to the autoloader.