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Dear Browser User POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: Dear Browser User virus
Damage level: Medium

What is "Dear Browser User"?

"Dear Browser User" is categorized as a scam that is distributed through a deceptive website which cannot be trusted. In this case, scammers attempt to trick people into completing a survey by offering a chance to win access to HD movie streaming services.

Most people end up visiting this website due to potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) installed on their computers or web browsers. Therefore, PUAs force directs to these untrustworthy sites. Furthermore, PUAs often collect browsing-related information and deliver intrusive ads.

Dear Browser User scam

This scam is presented as an annual browser opinion survey whereby users must answer questions relating to use of browsers. For example, "How often do you use this browser?", and so on. In return for answering these questions, scammers offer the chance to win access to an HD movie streaming service or app.

This scam also displays another window, supposedly used to create an account for a website. It asks to provide an email address and password. Do not answer any questions or provide any details, since they might be misused.

The prize offered ("HD Streaming Movies") is likely to be a PUA that causes redirects to deceptive websites such as, for example, the "Dear Browser User" scam.

PUAs often cause redirects to dubious websites, but also gather browsing-related information and deploy intrusive ads. They record IP addresses, search queries, geo-locations, URLs of visited websites, and so on. All recorded data is continually shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue.

PUAs also serve intrusive ads that are displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site and conceal underlying content. Clicking them often results in redirects to dubious, deceptive websites. Some execute scripts designed to download/install other unwanted apps.

In summary, having these apps installed might cause privacy/browsing safety issues or even identity theft. All PUAs should be uninstalled immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Dear Browser User 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 (scams). Some other examples include "Error Code XLMR01F7985", "Windows Is Not Activated", and "Activate Your Windows Now".

Most generate revenue for their developers by various means. Many PUAs are virtually identical - developers promote them as 'useful' tools, offering various features, however, once installed, they deliver none of the functionality promised or any real value.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Some potentially unwanted applications have official websites and can be downloaded from there, however, most users install them through intrusive advertisements or when they are bundled with other, usually free, software.

"Bundling" is a deceptive marketing method that developers use to trick people into downloading and installing unwanted apps by hiding them in "Custom", "Advanced" and other options/settings of the download/installation set-ups. They avoid disclosing information about the presence of PUAs in set-ups.

Developers are aware of the tendency for users to skip installation steps without checking settings, and they use this to their advantage.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download software using official, trustworthy sources and avoid using third party software downloaders, installers, and other similar channels. Never skip software installation steps and ensure that you have checked all available "Custom", "Advanced" (and other similar) settings or options. Remember to deselect offers to install additional software.

Most intrusive ads may seem legitimate, however, they can be malicious and redirect to untrustworthy sites (gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.). If you experience these ads or redirects, check installed programs on the operating system and extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins on the browser.

Remove any unwanted/suspicious entries immediately. 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 Browser User" pop-up:

Dear browser user,

You are today's lucky visitor for: January 10, 2019

Please complete this short survey and to say ìThank Youî weíll give you a chance to win HD Streaming MoviesÆ!

2019 Annual Visitor Survey (----)
Browser Opinion Survey
January 10, 2019
Congratulations!
Youíve been personally selected to take part in our 2019 Annual Visitor Survey! Tell us what you think of this browser and to say ìThank Youî youíll receive a chance to win HD Streaming MoviesÆ!
Question 1 of 4:
How often do you use this browser?
All the time
Sometimes
Never

The appearance of "Dear Browser User" pop-up (GIF):

Dear Browser User scam gif

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:
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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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