What is Amazon Gift Card?
"Amazon Gift Card" is a generic name for scam messages displayed by malicious websites. In most cases, users visit these sites inadvertently - they are redirected by intrusive advertisements (displayed by other dubious sites) or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
Research shows that PUPs often infiltrate systems without permission and, as well as causing redirects, deliver intrusive advertisements, gather private information, and run unwanted processes in the background.
There is a huge variety of "Amazon Gift Card" type scams (e.g., You Are Today's Lucky Visitor). All essentially state that the user is a lucky visitor and has the chance to win a gift card (typically equivalent to $1000) from the Amazon e-shop. To receive the card, however, users must perform various tasks.
In most cases, they are asked to complete a survey or provide registration details (personal information including email addresses, which are used to send the gift card). Some sites attempt to trick users into staying on the malicious site as long as possible (e.g., the user must wait for a countdown timer to reach zero before starting the survey).
This is done to misuse system resources and perform various tasks, such as mining cryptocurrency (typically, Monero). Malware security researcher, Lawrence Abrams, has recently discovered an "Amazon Gift Card" scam site that contains a countdown timer. To receive the gift, users must (once again) wait for the timer to reach zero.
In fact, the timer continues to reset to 59 sec - it never reaches 0. While the user is waiting, the website runs background scripts that use system resources to "watch" YouTube videos without displaying them on the screen. It is safe to assume that cyber criminals generate revenue by stealthily generating traffic/views for certain YouTube channels.
In summary, any websites that supposedly "enable" users to win Amazon gift cards are false and malicious. The associated messages are false and should be ignored.
If you have visited such a site, leave it immediately. Some malicious sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. In this case, close the browser via Task Manager or simply restart the computer. After rerunning the browser, never restore the previous session, otherwise you will return to the malicious site.
As mentioned above, PUPs often generate coupon, banner, pop-up, and other intrusive ads. To achieve this, developers employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads often conceal underlying website content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience.
In addition, these ads can lead to malicious sites and execute scripts designed to download/install malware. Therefore, even a single click might result in high-risk computer infections. Information tracking is also an issue. Research shows that PUPs often gather IP addresses, URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and other information that includes personal details.
Once recorded, this information is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who generate revenue by misusing private data.
This can cause serious privacy issues. Furthermore, some PUPs (such as malicious sites) misuse system resources to mine cryptocurrencies or run other unwanted processes. The presence of these programs results in a significant reduction in overall system performance. You are strongly advised to uninstall all PUPs immediately.
|Name||"Amazon Gift Card" virus|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Symptoms||Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
There are hundreds of rogue programs, all of which are virtually identical. By offering a range of "useful functions" (e.g., file conversion, download performance increase, system optimization, anti-virus, etc.), PUPs often trick unsuspecting users to install.
Rather than delivering any real value for regular users, however, PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety. The only purpose of all PUPs is to generate revenue for the developers.
How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?
Some PUPs have official download websites, however, due to the lack of knowledge and careless behavior of many users, they often infiltrate systems without permission. Potentially unwanted programs are often distributed using the "bundling" method, together with intrusive ads. "Bundling" is stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps.
Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Many users rush these procedures and skip steps. In addition, they click suspicious ads/links without understanding the possible consequences. This behavior can lead to inadvertent installation of PUPs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent this situation, be very careful when browsing the Internet and, especially when downloading/installing software. Criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design, thereby making them appear legitimate, however, they often redirect to dubious sites (e.g., gambling, survey, pornography, and so on).
If you encounter these redirects, immediately eliminate all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. The key to computer safety is caution.
Typical text presented in "Amazon Gift Card" scams:
Congratulations! Amazon.com User! You've been selected for a chance to get the $1000 Amazon Gift Card, Apple iPhone X 256G or Samsung Galaxy S8! Please click OK to claim your reward before it expires!
The appearance of "Amazon Gift Card" scam-displaying website that "watches" YouTube videos without displaying them on the screen (GIF):
Mobile variants of "Amazon Gift Card" scams:
Another variant of "Amazon Gift Card" pop-up scam:
Text presented within page:
Congratulations, you are today's lucky visitor!
Every day, we randomly select a user from all over the Phoenix, AZ for a chance to receive a new Amazon $1000 Gift Card!
You have 1 minutes and 52 seconds to win the spin game for a chance to receive a Amazon $1000 Gift Card!
Note: This is a limited offer, if your session ends or timer expires, you cannot take part anymore and the Amazon $1000 Gift Card will go to the next potential device
Page after "spinning the wheel":
Text presented within this page:
Over $4,000,000 in Rewards given out so far!
$1000 AMAZON GIFT CARD*
*UPON COMPLETION OF PURCHASE REQUIREMENTS. CLICK FOR DETAILS
Page used to register an account in order to "receive" the gift:
Text presented within this page:
REWARD: $1000 AMAZON GIFT CARD
Confirm your information to finish your registration
Appearance of this "Amazon Gift Card" scam variant (GIF):
Another variant of Amazon Gift Card scam ("Congratulations Amazon shopper!"):
Texts presented within these pages:
Congratulations Amazon shopper!
We would like to thank you for your continuing support for our services - so we are offering you a chance to receive an exclusive reward
Click "OK" to claim your special prize
Shopper Loyalty Program 2019
Every Monday we select 7 lucky Amazon shoppers to receive a special reward. Spin the wheel to claim your special prize.
(1) $1000 Amazon Gift Card is reserved for you!
To claim your prize, click the button bellow and verify your information on the next page.
Claim Your Prize
Your prize will expire in 1:11
Yet another variant of "Amazon Gift Card" scam:
Yet another variant of "Amazon Gift Card" pop-up scam:
Text presented within:
Text in the pop-up:
You won a 500$ Amazon Gift card!
Your Gift Card Certificate password is "777". Save it, you will need it to open your gift card.
Text in the background:
Today Novembre 18, 2020 . You have been randomly selected to participate in Amazon Reward Program. It will only take a minute and you can receive a prize: Amazon 500$ Gift Card
Every Wednesday 10 lucky Facebook users are chosen to randomly receive a reward. This way we encourage people to use our products and services!
This survey is designed to improve user experience of our customers. Your free participation will certainly be rewarded!
You have only 1 Minutes 22 Seconds left to participate
Hurry up! The amount of gifts is limited!
Another example of "Amazon Gift Card" pop-up scam:
Text presented within:
Eonix Corporation‘s promotional contest as for Tuesday 26 January 2021
Dear client Eonix Corporation,
we would like to thank you for your loyalty to Eonix Corporation, therefore, we offer you a chance to get a $1000 Amazon Giftcard.
Win an Amazon Giftcard
All you have to do is choose the correct gift box
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Amazon Gift Card?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted programs:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "amazon gift card" virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "amazon gift card" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with "amazon gift card" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "amazon gift card" virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
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