What is the "Gift card giveaway" scam?
The "Gift card giveaway" is a scam promoted on various deceptive websites. This scheme offers fake gift cards for popular brands/services. For example, Amazon, eBay, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft, MasterCard, PayPal, Skype, Netflix, Nintendo, PlayStation, Roblox, and so on.
This scheme redirects to various phishing sites and other similar scam pages. Therefore, trusting "Gift card giveaway" can lead to serious issues. Typically, users access these untrusted sites unintentionally - they are redirected to them by intrusive ads or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on the system.
When a website running the "Gift card giveaway" scam is accessed, users can select a brand/service and receive a gift card code for it.
Typically, this type of scam offers rewards outright or promise prizes for completing short surveys and similar, however, when users attempt to claim the gifts, they are are asked to provide personal information, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account and/or credit card details, etc.
The scammers can use the stolen data to further other scams, make fraudulent monetary transactions or online purchases, and so on. Alternatively, users can be asked to make bogus payments (e.g. pay fake shipping, registration, subscription and other fees) - in doing so, they also risk exposing their financial information, which can be misused (as mentioned previously).
In summary, trusting "Gift card giveaway" (or other scams) can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft.
PUAs can force-open various untrustworthy/malicious web pages, however, they also have other capabilities. Adware-type unwanted applications run intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e. deliver pop-ups, banners, coupons and other ads). When clicked, intrusive ads can redirect to harmful sites and some can stealthily download/install rogue software.
Another PUAs called browser hijackers make modifications to browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. The promoted rogue search engines are rarely capable of providing unique results, and so they redirect to Yahoo, Google, Bing and other legitimate search engines.
Furthermore, browser hijackers can reset any changes users attempt to make to their browsers, if they allow access to the browser settings at all. Furthermore, most unwanted apps can track data.
They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data is usually shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To ensure device integrity and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Name||Gift Card Giveaway phishing scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||Scam offers fake gift cards.|
|Serving IP Address (livelivellive[.]com)
|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.
"International Official Lottery", "Congratulations device user!", "2020 Opinion Survey" and "Dear user, congratulations!" are some examples of scams similar to "Gift card giveaway". The internet is rife with various scams, which use social engineering and scare tactics to abuse users' trust.
Popular scam models include (but are not limited to) prize giveaways, "amazing" deals/offers, warnings that the system is infected or at risk, alerts that a crucial piece of software is outdated or missing, etc. Regardless of what these schemes offer, request or demand, the purpose is identical: to generate profit for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some PUAs have "official" download web pages that are often promoted by deceptive/scam sites. These apps can also be downloaded/installed together with other products. "Bundling" is the term used to define this deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions.
Rushing downloads/installations (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertent installation of bundled content. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. When clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
All products should be researched before download/installation or purchase. Use official and verified download sources. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders are untrusted, since they can offer deceptive and bundled content.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, functions, and so on. It is also important to exercise caution when browsing.
Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.). If you encounter ads/redirects of this kind, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and 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.
Appearance of "Gift card giveaway" scam (GIF):
Another variant of this scam (GIF):
Another example of a gift card-themed scam delivered by new-message[.]live website:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 "Gift card giveaway"?
- 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 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
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 gift card giveaway phishing scam, 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 gift card giveaway phishing scam, 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 gift card giveaway phishing scam 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 gift card giveaway phishing scam, 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.
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