What is "SPECIAL AWARD FROM OUR SPONSORS"?
"SPECIAL AWARD TO OUR SPONSORS" is a scam proliferated by deceptive websites. It operates by tricking visitors into making a financial transaction and revealing their personal details to the cyber criminals behind the scam. The scam claims that users have won a large monetary prize.
Few users access these sites intentionally - most are redirected by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already present within the system. Note that unwanted apps do not need express user permission to infiltrate devices.
When visitors enter a deceptive website running this scam, they first see a pop-up window. The message within it claims that they have won a "big money prize". After "continue" is clicked, the page displayed congratulates users and states that they have been selected to receive a special award.
This 'prize' is from unspecified sponsors and can be as large as fifty thousand (presumably, US dollars). Users are instructed to click one of three identical images of a treasure chest to find out what they have won. Doing so leads to a page informing them of their winnings. It also states that they only have five minutes to receive the prize.
Once the "OK" button is clicked, the web page claims to connect users to an available operator. A fake one-way chat is then displayed, wherein a nonexistent operator congratulates them and states that consent needs to be given, prior to the sum being transferred.
Following this, the "operator" prepares all necessary information and asks users to click "go to fill out details for withdrawal". This button shows users yet another page - this one asks them to select whether they wish their winnings to be transferred to a bank card or an electronic wallet (beside each, legitimate bank services are listed).
The card/wallet number must also be provided, and then users can click the "withdraw win" button. The scam then goes on to claim that there has been an error and the bank could not identify the recipient. It alleges that, according to current legislation, money transfers exceeding a certain sum can only be done after identification.
Therefore, users are informed that they must make an 'identification payment' and only then can their prize be transferred to an account of their choice. This fee consists of twenty-nine dollars, and giving consent to this redirects them to a different site.
Through it, users can make the "payment", however after complying with these instructions, they do not receive any winnings and, instead, suffer financial loss - the identification fee is not returned. "SPECIAL AWARD TO OUR SPONSORS" and other web pages claiming that visitors have won substantial prizes are bogus schemes that must not be trusted.
These scams generate revenue at users' expense and can also lead to serious privacy issues. As mentioned, PUAs can generate redirects to various deceptive/scam pages and other untrustworthy/malicious websites. Unwanted applications also have other capabilities geared towards generating profit for their developers.
Some of these apps can run intrusive advertisement campaigns. I.e., deliver unwanted and harmful ads. Others can modify browsers to promote fake search engines.
PUAs of all types commonly have data tracking capabilities, which they employ to monitors users' browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect their personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This private data can then be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and end up being used for nefarious purposes.
To summarize, PUAs can cause browser and system infiltration/infections, and lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues, and even identify theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Name||possible malware infections|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||The scam claims that visitors have won a substantial monetary prize.|
|Detection Names||Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||126.96.36.199|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
Typically, these schemes use social engineering to encourage users into performing specific actions (e.g. making monetary transfers), however, some scams employ scare tactics to achieve the chosen effect. Sites which claim that visitors have won a prize, present them with 'amazing' offers, warn of "detected" threats/issues on devices, and similar, must not be trusted.
You are strongly advised against following their instructions or downloading/installing or purchasing any content they endorse.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other programs. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal software with unwanted content is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled applications onto systems.
Some PUAs have "official" download web pages. When clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts to stealthily download/install these apps.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Research all content before downloading/installing. Use only official and verified download channels. Do not use untrustworthy sources such as Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, free file-hosting sites and other third party downloaders.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and so on).
If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, inspect the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. 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 the initial "SPECIAL AWARD FROM OUR SPONSORS" pop-up:
YOU CAN WIN A BIG MONEY PRIZE
Screenshot of the second page displayed:
Text presented in this page:
Congratulations! YOU ARE A LUCKY USER…
YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO RECEIVE
A SPECIAL AWARD FROM OUR SPONSORS!
27 11 2019
GET PRIZES! YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO GET UP TO $ 50,000!
DISCOVER ONE OF 3 TREASURES CHEST
AND RECOGNIZE YOUR PRIZE!
Screenshot of the third page displayed:
The appearance of "SPECIAL AWARD FROM OUR SPONSORS" scam (GIF):
Text presented in this page:
$11000 is reserved for you!
You have only 5 minutes to pick them up!
Check the data on the next page to continue ...
Screenshots of the chat:
Text presented in this chat:
Hello, I congratulate you on such a significant win!
In order to continue withdrawing funds to a card or electronic wallet, you need to give your consent ..
I will call you a special button, click on it
Well, consent is obtained ...
Now I will prepare all the necessary information, and I will write to you, one minute, please
I prepared the output, now I will again call you a special button, click on it, then specify the details for the output and follow the further instructions of the system
Now I say goodbye to you, and once again congratulate you on your victory! Also, do not forget to leave a comment after the withdrawal of funds :) Goodbye!
Screenshot of the page displayed after "GO TO FILL OUT DETAILS FOR WITHDRAWAL" is clicked:
Text presented in this page:
AMOUNT TO BE PAID - 11000 USD.
SPECIFY PAYMENT DETAILS:
ANY BANK CARD (VISA/MASTERCARD/MAESTRO)
ELECTRONIC WALLET (PAYPAL/SCRILL)
Enter card / wallet number
WITHDRAW WIN »
Screenshot of the page displayed after the "WITHDRAW WIN" button is clicked:
Text presented in this page:
BANK DECLINED TRANSFER OPERATION error #607-11
Transfer Sender LCC "IPMA" р/с 4836900056782114
Date of operatin 27 11 2019
Status RECIPIENT IS NOT IDENTIFIED
The operation could not be completed because the bank could not identify the recipient.
According to the current legislation:
"Conducting by legal entities of money transfers in excess of $2500 in favor of an individual is possible only after the complete identification of the recipient."
To receive funds in the amount of $11,000, it is necessary to make an identification payment from the card or electronic wallet to which you wish to receive a transfer..
After identification payment, this payment will be processed and sent back to your card or e-wallet with a transfer of $ 11,000
System identification payment $29
MAKE AN IDENTIFICATION PAYMENT AND RECEIVE A TRANSFER
Screenshot of the website for making the "identification payment":
Text presented in this page:
Order number: 25938120 $28.73
Only Visa/Mastercard/Maestro cards accepted!
хххх - хххх - хххх - хххх
Expiration Date CVV
3 DIGITS OF ACCOUNT NUMBER PANEL
When the online transaction is made, you will receive a verification code through an SMS to your registered mobile phone number.
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 "SPECIAL AWARD FROM OUR SPONSORS"?
- 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 applications:
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 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:
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 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.
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 and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, 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 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, 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 possible malware infections, 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove possible malware infections from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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