Avoid the "Like Of The Year" seasonal award scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

"Like Of The Year" pop-up scam removal instructions

What is "Like Of The Year"?

"Like Of The Year" is a scam run by deceptive websites. It announces that visitors have won a monetary prize due to 'liking' a certain comment in a social media network. This scam employs social engineering tactics to trick users into revealing their personal and banking information. Users are asked to pay a registration fee, which will allegedly be returned when the winnings are transferred. In fact, visitors tricked by "Like Of The Year" do not receive the promised prize money and experience financial loss, as well as privacy issues. Sites that display these scams are usually accessed through redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already infiltrated into the system.

Like Of The Year scam

Visitors to the deceptive website receive congratulations for being winners of the "Like Of The Year" seasonal award. The scam informs them that a comment they 'liked' in an unspecified social media network was randomly selected as one of the winners. The supposed award is between $100 to $5000. Users are urged to press the "Click to receive a reward" button to have the winnings transferred to their bank cards or online wallets. Once the button is clicked, they are redirected several times. Firstly, the site claims to perform verification processes, and then displays the wining amount. When "Withdraw the amount" is clicked, the process of connecting to a "support agent" begins. The redirection chain ends with a one-way chat, which instructs users about how to claim their prize. The "support agent" is actually a bot, which gives congratulations and claims that the payout has been prepared. A "Proceed to withdrawal" button redirects users to a different web page on which they are urged to provide their banking information. They are then redirected back to the initial rogue site, which states that, to receive the reward, a registration fee must be paid. This payment will supposedly be returned when the winnings are transferred. "MAKE A REGISTRATION FEE PAYMENT" leads to a different page, from which the sum can be paid, however, after paying, users do not receive the prize money promised. Trusting "Like Of The Year" will certainly lead to financial loss and potential privacy issues.

As mentioned, PUAs are often responsible for opening deceptive, scam websites. Unwanted applications share common traits, despite offering many different functions. While applications within this classification may seem legitimate, they rarely work as advertised. They can generate redirects to compromised, untrustworthy and malicious web pages. Others run intrusive ad campaigns (i.e., display various unwanted and harmful ads). The ads diminish the browsing experience (limit browsing speed and site visibility), cause redirects to hazardous pages, and can make rogue downloads/installations. Some unwanted apps hijack browsers by making unauthorized changes to them and limiting/denying access to settings. Regardless of their specifications, most PUAs can also track data. They record users' browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather personal information (IP addresses, geolocations, and other details). This sensitive data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain. In summary, the presence of PUAs on devices can lead to browser/system infiltration and infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. Therefore, it is crucial to remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name possible malware infections
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims that the visitor has won a prize for liking a comment on social media.
Detection Names Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).
Serving IP Address 92.119.113.140
Symptoms Unwanted pop-ups, redirects.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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The Internet is rife with deceptive/scam websites. "You Are Our Winner Today!""Congratulations User!", and "You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" are just some relevant examples. These web pages often use social engineering and scare tactics to encourage visitors into performing specific actions. As well as claiming that visitors have won prizes, they can also display warnings that the device is infected or a crucial piece of software is outdated. They offer apps for elimination of detected/suspected problems or the necessary updates. Firstly, no site can detect threats/issues present within the system. Secondly, all applications/updates advertised on these sites are often bogus, fraudulent, and nonoperational. Therefore, you are strongly advised against making payments or giving personal information to these sites. Furthermore, do not download, install, or purchase content promoted by these scams.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed with other products. "Bundling" is a term used to describe this deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content. Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled applications onto devices. Certain PUAs have "official" download pages, on which they are typically endorsed as "free" and "useful". Intrusive advertisements are also known to proliferate PUAs. When clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install content without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research products to verify their legitimacy, before downloading/installing. Use only trustworthy and verified download channels should be used. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites should not be used, as they are classed as untrustworthy. Download/Installation processes should be treated with caution. Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of supplementary content (apps, tools, features, and so on). Intrusive advertisements often seem normal and harmless, and are seldom outwardly suspicious, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages, such as gambling, adult-dating, pornography and others. If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text initially presented by the "Like Of The Year" scam:

CONTRATULATIONS!
YOU ARE A WINNER!

We would like to inform that you liked a comment ID:35915743 in a social network using this browser Chrome v.78, January 9, 2019 at 19:48
This like has been randomly selected to win the seasonal
2019 award!

You are supposed to receive a reward
from 100$ to 5000$
Read below to claim your prize
The amount of your winnings has been already determined!
You will receive your winnings now on your bank card or online wallet
Click to receive a reward

Prize pool 450 000$
This year winners: 432
Paid: 46 454$
Money left: 402 930$

Seasonal award announces the winners for the 5th time!
Traditionally, we start paying cash prizes to our winners!

 The appearance of the "Like Of The Year" scam (GIF):

Appearance of

Screenshots of the "Like Of The Year" support chat:

Like Of The Year chat 1 Like Of The Year chat 2 Like Of The Year chat 3

Text presented by the chat messages:

Congratulations, you won a significant amount of money!

 

I need your permission in order to continue withdrawing funds to your card or e-wallet.

 

Click on a special button when it appears on your screen.

 

Okay, you've agreed...

 

I'll prepare all the necessary information now and will contact you within a minute

 

Done.

 

I have prepared a payout, now click on the special button again, then enter your bank details and follow the instructions of the system.

 

Congratulations on your victory! Also, don't forget to leave a comment after receiving funds.

Screenshot of the "Like Of The Year" scam asking users to provide their personal and banking information:

Like Of The Year scam asking for personal and banking info

"Like Of The Year" scam asking users to make a "registration fee payment" (GIF):

alt

Text presented on this page:

YOUR BALANCE: 4335$ ACCOUNT NUMBER: NOT ACTIVATED
YOUR IDENTITY IS NOT CONFIRMED
Operation Transferring money to an internal account
Transaction #2308434840
Time Thu Nov 21 2019 08:44:50 GMT+0200 (Eastern European Standard Time)
Amount 4335$
Status Code 419 (Identity is not confirmed)

FUNDS ARE SUCCESSFULLY CREDITED TO THE INTERNAL ACCOUNT!
THE SUM OF THE REWARD, READY TO BE SENT

Due to the payment system limits, the transfer of prize funds will be sent in two equal parts within 10 minutes.
In order to receive prize pool reward, you have to pay the registration fee. Your card/wallet will be charged with the sum of 29.85 USD
The charged amount will be returned to your card/wallet automatically
With this verification steps, your identity is confirmed and the internal account is ready for two further transfers.
We remind you that the payment will be sent to you in two equal transfers. To continue you have to pass verification process of your payment card/wallet.

Screenshot of the site for transferring the "registration fee" (first step):

alt

Text presented on this page:

PAYMASTER
Payment destination:
REGISTRATION FEE PAYMENT
Amount: 26.95 EUR

Your information
Your name*

Your e-mail*

To pay:

26.95 EUR


Payment method:

We only accept payments with 3D Secure!
We are processing only Mastercard.

* Your personal data will not be passed on to third parties.

SUPPORT

Screenshot of the site for transferring the "registration fee" (second step):

alt

Text presented on this page:

Enter payment card information
Visa, MasterCard
Amount
26.95 EUR
Holder Name:
Card Number:
1234567890123456
Expiry Date:
MM YY
Card verification code
CVC
3 digits on the back of the card

Support for buyers
Pay
Payments protected by PCI DSS 3.2

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes 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:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

PUAs uninstall via Control Panel

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 application, 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:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 and remove them.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (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.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with possible malware infections removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove possible malware infections from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on possible malware infections or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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.

QR Code
possible malware infections QR code
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