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Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Dear Chrome user, congratulations!" virus
Damage level: Medium

What is Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!?

"Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" is a deceptive message delivered by various rogue websites. Research shows that many visitors arrive at the Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! website inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) or intrusive advertisements delivered by other rogue sites.

Be aware that many PUAs infiltrate systems without permission and, as well as causing redirects, deploy intrusive advertisements and gather sensitive information.

Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! scam

The "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" message states that the user has been selected to win a Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile telephone in return for loyalty to the Google Chrome browser. To collect the prize, however, a short survey must be completed. This is a scam and Google has nothing to do with it.

In fact, cyber criminals attempt to gather various data that will be misused to generate revenue. These people are likely to ask victims to enter personal details (such as email addresses). Ignore the "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" message and leave the site immediately.

Note that some rogue sites employ scripts that prevent closing of browsing tabs/windows. In these cases, terminate the browser via Task Manager or simply reboot the system. After re-running the browser, do not restore the previous session, otherwise the rogue sites will be reopened.

Potentially unwanted applications deliver various intrusive advertisements (e.g., banners, pop-ups, coupons, and so on) that are delivered using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. They often conceal underlying content, thereby diminishing the browsing experience.

A more important issue is that they can redirect to malicious websites or execute scripts that download/install malware. Therefore, even accidental clicks might result in high-risk computer infections. Potentially unwanted applications are also notorious for information tracking.

They typically record IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, keystrokes, and other similar information that is likely to include personal details. All data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private information to generate revenue.

Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We strongly recommend that you eliminate all potentially unwanted applications immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "Dear Chrome user, congratulations!" virus
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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The Internet is full of deceptive websites that display fake messages, however, unlike "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!", most are fake errors stating that the system is damaged and encouraging users to contact fake 'tech support' (paid services) or purchase unnecessary software.

Most potentially unwanted applications are also very similar . By offering various "useful features", apps such as Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, they are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.

Rather than giving any real value for regular users, PUAs cause unwanted redirects, deliver intrusive ads, and gather sensitive information, thereby posing a threat to your privacy and web browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

In most cases, potentially unwanted applications infiltrate systems without permission, since developers proliferate them using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes.

Furthermore, many users often rush these procedures, skip steps, and click advertisements without understanding the possible consequences. In doing so, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious during the download/installation processes and when browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. Cancel all additionally-included applications and decline offers to download/install them.

We advise you to download programs from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus these tools should never be used.

Remember also that criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design, thereby making them seem legitimate, however, they redirect to dubious websites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc.) Intrusive ads are usually delivered by adware-type PUAs. If you experience dubious redirects, eliminate all suspicious applications and browser add-ons.

The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up:

CONGRATULATIONS!
We want to thank you for your loyalty to Chrome!
Your IP address has been selected to receive an Galaxy S9!
Reference of user: GIFT-29931-97

Dear Chrome user, congratulations!

We want to thank you for being a loyal Chrome user! Your IP address has been randomly selected to receive a FREE Galaxy S9.
From time to time we select a handful of Chrome users to give them the opportunity to receive valuable gifts from our partners and sponsors. This is our way of thanking you for choosing Chrome as your preferred service.
Today is your lucky day! You are one of the 10 randomly selected users who will receive a new Galaxy S9.
To receive your gift, you simply have to complete our short and anonymous survey. But hurry! There are only a few gifts available today!
How satisfied are you with Chrome?

The appearance of "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up (GIF):

Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! scam gif

Another variant of "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up scam:

Dearch Rome User, Congratulations! second variant (page 1)

Text presented within this page:

Tuesday October 1, 2019
Dear Google user,
Congratulations! You have been selected as the potential winner of today's FREE Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone X or iPad Air 2.

Screenshot of the second page:

Dearch Rome User, Congratulations! second variant (page 2)

Text presented within this page:

Google Customer Reward Program
Congratulations!
1 October 2019
We would like to thank you for using our products for so long!

Every day, we select a small group of Google users and give them the chance to get valuable gifts from our partners and sponsors. In this way, we thank you for choosing to use Google.

You can win a new Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone X or iPad Air 2. All you have to do to get a gift is to answer the following 7 questions. This survey allows us to better understand the users and improve our products. It will not take more than 30 seconds of your time.

Note: 100 randomly selected users have received this invitation and the number of gifts is limited.
You have 1 minutes and 22 seconds to answer the following questions before we give the gift to another lucky user! I wish you success!

Another variant of "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up scam (now called "Dear Google User, Congratulations!"):

Dear Google User, Congratulations! pop-up scam

Text presented within this scam:

Pop-up window:


Congratulations!

We would like to thank for your loyalty to Google!

Your IP Address has been chosen to receive iPhone Xs Max or Samsung Galaxy S10!
Date: Monday 28 October 2019
Reference Guide:    GIFT-96951-97

 


Website background:

 

Data:    Monday 28 October 2019
Reference Guide:    GIFT-96951-97
Country:    US
Dear Google User, Congratulations!
We want to thank you for being a loyal Google user. Choose your IP address at random to have access to iPhone Xs Max or Samsung Galaxy S10.

From time to time we have selected a handful of Google users to give them the opportunity to receive valuable donations from our partners and sponsors. This is our way to thank you for choosing Google as your preferred service.

Today is your lucky day! You are one of 10 randomly selected users who will have access to iPhone Xs Max or Samsung Galaxy S10 .

To receive your gift, simply fill out our short and anonymous research. Hurry up! Only a few presents are available today!

How satisfied are you with Google?

Appearance of this scam (GIF):

Dear Google User, Congratulations! pop-up scam appearance (GIF)

Another variant of "Dear Google User, Congratulations!" pop-up scam:

Dear Google User, Congratulations! pop-up scam

Text presented within this scam:

Pop-up window:

 

Congratulations!

We would like to thank for your loyalty to Google!

Your IP Address has been chosen to receive iPhone 11 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy Note 10+!
Date: Monday 2 December 2019
Reference Guide:    GIFT-96951-97

 

Background website:


Data:    Monday 2 December 2019
Reference Guide:    GIFT-96951-97
Country:    US
Dear Google User, Congratulations!
We want to thank you for being a loyal Google user. Choose your IP address at random to have access to iPhone 11 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.

From time to time we have selected a handful of Google users to give them the opportunity to receive valuable donations from our partners and sponsors. This is our way to thank you for choosing Google as your preferred service.

Today is your lucky day! You are one of 10 randomly selected users who will have access to iPhone 11 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ .

To receive your gift, simply fill out our short and anonymous research. Hurry up! Only a few presents are available today!

How satisfied are you with Google?

Appearance of this scam (GIF):

Dear Google User, Congratulations! pop-up scam (GIF)

Another variant of "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up scam promoted by Noname scam website:

Another variant of Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! scam

Another variant of "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" pop-up scam:

Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! pop-up scam (2020-05-06)

Appearance of this variant (GIF):

Dear Chrome User, Congratulations! pop-up scam (2020-05-06) GIF

Text presented within this page:

Thank you!
Results of Lucky Draw:
You have a chance to win (1) One Exclusive Prize!
Congratulations, Google User!
Your Google Chrome is chosen randonmly in our lucky draw among 493,329 users! You have a chance to win one out of three gifts below!


ACT NOW, or your spot shall be given to the next lucky Google user!

You only have 3 minutes 02 seconds to make your choice!

iPhone 11 Pro

0 In Stock
iPad Pro 2020

0 In Stock

$1000 Walmart Gift Card

2 In Stock

CLAIM NOW!
Continue >>

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Quick menu:

How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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