"Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" removal instructions
What is "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!"?
"Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" is a scam, which is promoted on deceptive sites. It operates by claiming that visitors have been selected as one of "10 lucky YouTube watchers" to claim a prize in the form of an Amazon or Walmart gift-card. At the time of research, this scam simply redirected to a web page stating "Thank You", however, such scams are employed to trick users into revealing their personal information (e.g. bank accounts or credit card details, names, email addresses, etc.) and/or making monetary transactions, (e.g. fake prizes/gift shipping fees and similar payments). Few visitors to deceptive websites enter them intentionally - most are redirected by intrusive ads or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already infiltrated into the system. Note that PUAs do not require express permission to be installed onto users' devices.
Visitors to sites running "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" first see a pop-up window with text greeting them as "YouTube users" and informing them that, in celebration of the YouTube platform reaching a daily view-count of one billion, they have been chosen as one of 10 winners to claim a prize. This reward is supposedly an Amazon or Walmart gift-card, equivalent to $1000 USD. The message instructs users to click "OK" and answer a few questions to proceed. The four questions are multi-choice and relate to the YouTube platform - queries concerning the regularity of use/visits, preferred content and opinion/relevance of the advertisements. This page also urges people to hurry, by claiming that the available prizes are limited. Below the questions are fake comments from other "winners". The design of this panel is reminiscent of Facebook comments, an attempt on the scammers' part to further the impression of legitimacy. Once the survey is completed, the scam claims to take inventory of the available gifts. Following this, users are provided with steps about how to receive their prizes, which have apparently been reserved for them. Step one instructs them to click the "Claim" button below the gift, and step two to provide their shipping information on the next web page. Users are once more urged to hurry, which contradicts the previous statement (i.e., the nonexistent prize being reserved), indicating that the number of available gifts is limited. During research, the "Claim" button redirected to a page thanking users, with no additional information or fields to provide the requested details, however, from the format of the scam, it is clear that it was intended to be a phishing attempt via which users' sensitive information is stolen. Furthermore, similar schemes tend to ask users to pay the shipping fees of their bogus prizes - this is likely to have been the intent behind "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!". Note that this is not a legitimate prize giveaway and is in no way connected to YouTube or the legitimate Amazon/Walmart companies. The promised rewards do no exist and trusting these scams can lead to serious issues. Being tricked by schemes such as "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" can endanger users' privacy and financial information.
As mentioned, deceptive/scam sites are often accessed through redirects caused by PUAs, however, these applications can also force-open sale-oriented, untrusted, rogue, compromised and even malicious websites. Apps classified as PUAs have varied capabilities, which are not limited to generating redirects. They can run intrusive ad campaigns, which diminish the browsing experience and deploy harmful ads (e.g. pop-up, banners, surveys, etc.). Other types can modify browsers, limit/deny access to settings and promote fake search engines. PUAs commonly have data-tracking capabilities, regardless of their other specifications. These unwanted applications monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and gather users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This information is typically shared with third parties, seeking to misuse it for profit. PUAs often seem legitimate and boast a wide variety of features, which are usually nonoperational. Despite their outward appearance, they can cause serious problems. The presence of unwanted apps on a device can thus lead to browser/system infiltration and infections, financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device/user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately.
|Name||Dear YouTube user, Congratulations! pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims visitors have won a prize.|
|Serving IP Address (rewardsawesome[.]com)||22.214.171.124|
|Detection Names (rewardsawesome[.]com)
||Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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 Malwarebytes.
"Congratulations Walmart shopper!", "Dear Chrome User, Congratulations!" and "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN!" are some examples of scams similar to "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!". The purpose of these schemes is to encourage visitors into performing specific actions to generate revenue at their expense. There are many scam models as well as gift/prize giveaways. Popular ones include "amazing offers", warnings of fake threats detected on the device and similarly false alerts of vital software being out-of-date, etc. Scams often incorporate the titles and/or design elements of large multinational platforms, service providers, companies and similar - to is do that they can reach a broad range of potential victims and appear genuine. Therefore, caution when browsing is strongly advised.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some PUAs have "official" download pages, which are frequently promoted by deceptive/scam sites. They are also commonly downloaded/installed together with other programs. This deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular products with unwanted or malicious software is called "bundling". When downloading/installing, ignoring the terms, skipped steps, using presets increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto devices. Intrusive advertisements also proliferate these applications. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to only use official and verified download sources. Avoid untrusted download channels such as free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders, as they offer deceptive and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive ads tend to appear normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to highly dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.). If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all suspicious 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 presented in "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" scam pop-up:
Dear YouTube user,
Monday, January 27, 2020
Congratulations! In celebration of 1 BILLION hours of YouTube watched everyday, we have selected you as one of 10 lucky YouTube users to claim a $1000 Amazon Gift Card or a $1000 Walmart Gift Card!
Click OK to answer our questions below and claim your prize!
Screenshots of the questions:
Text presented in these pages:
Monday, January 27, 2020
Answer our questions below to claim your gift card!
Important: Hurry, only (3) prizes remaining!
How often do you visit Youtube?
Multiple times a day
Multiple times a week
Multiple times a month
What content do you most often watch?
Are the advertisements you see on Youtube relevant to your interests?
Not at all
What do you think of the advertisements you see on Youtube?
I like them
I am not interested
Screenshot of the page displayed after the survey is complete:
Text presented in this page:
Monday, January 27, 2020
Thank you for answering our questions!
Please wait while we check your answers
Checking available rewards and stock...
Screenshot of the prize claim page:
Text presented in this page:
Thank you for helping us out, (1) $1000 Gift Card has now been reserved for you.
Step 1: Click the "Claim" button.
Step 2: Enter your shipping information on the next page to claim your prize.
Important: Hurry, limited quantities available.
$1000 Amazon gift card
$1000 Walmart Gift Card
The appearance of "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!" pop-up (GIF):
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:
- What is "Dear YouTube user, Congratulations!"?
- 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 7 users:
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:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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 dear youtube user, congratulations! pop-up, 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 dear youtube user, congratulations! pop-up, 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 dear youtube user, congratulations! pop-up 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 dear youtube user, congratulations! pop-up, 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 dear youtube user, congratulations! pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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