How to spot scams like "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam

Also Known As: "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam?

"You've made the 9.68-billionth search" is a scam, displayed by various deceptive websites. The scheme claims that users have been selected to win a gift of gratitude. At the time of research, this scam redirected to the Google search engine, however, it might also redirect to other web pages that can make a variety of requests/demands of users.

Scams of this type are usually created for phishing purposes. Therefore, by interacting with the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scheme, users' trust can be abused in different ways.

Typically, users access these bogus sites via redirects caused by intrusive ads or shady applications already installed on their systems.

You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

More about the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam

Despite the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam being disguised as a Google prize giveaway, it is no way associated with the actual Google LLC. This scheme claims that the visiting user is the lucky winner of a 'Thank You' gift. This fake prize giveaway supposedly selects winners every 10 millionth web search made in the world.

The scam instructs the user to select one of the three identical graphical renderings of a trophy and follow the instructions given after. The nonexistent gift is a Visa Gift Card worth one thousand US dollars. To claim this prize, the user is instructed to confirm/provide the necessary information on the next page.

As mentioned, at the time of research, "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" redirected to the address of the Google search engine, however, due to the phrasing used in this scan and modus operandi of similar ones, its real goal is phishing.

Thus, it is highly likely that this scheme can redirect to other sites asking users to enter sensitive information. Typically, information of interest includes (but is not limited to) names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account, and credit card details.

The collected data can then be misused to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases. Scams of this kind can also ask users to pay certain fees (e.g. for shipping, registration, subscription, tax, etc.), as they are allegedly necessary for the prize to be delivered.

Note that all of the information provided by this scam is false. In summary, trusting the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scheme can result in financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft.

More about unwanted applications that promote scams

One of the main causes behind rogue redirects to these deceptive/scam and other dubious web pages are certain applications that can have other/additional capabilities. Adware-type apps deliver intrusive ads, which are not only a nuisance but are also dangerous. Browser hijackers modify browser settings to promote fake search engines.

Furthermore, most unwanted apps have data tracking capabilities. 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). The gathered data is often shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

Therefore, the presence of such applications on devices poses a significant threat to system integrity and user privacy. You are strongly advised to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims visitors have won a gift of gratitude
Related Domains applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club, lucky-national-super-worldwide[.]cyou, luckynationalsuperworldwide[.]cyou
Detection Names (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
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)

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Similar scams in general

"Gift card giveaway", "Congratulations device user!", "International Official Lottery" and "You've Made The 5-billionth Search" are some examples of scams similar to "You've made the 9.68-billionth search".

There are various types of schemes online and their goals are likewise varied. Popular scam models are fake prize giveaways, "amazing" offers and deals, warnings that the system is infected, alerts that a crucial piece of software is outdated, and so on.

Regardless of what these deceptive websites claim, offer, request or demand, the purpose is identical: to generate revenue to the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

How did unwanted applications install on my computer?

Unwanted applications are distributed via download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and settings, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.

Some unwanted apps have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install shady applications without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of unwanted applications?

You are advised to research all software before download/installation or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources, since dubious channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders commonly offer deceptive or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads may seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to various dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).

If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove any suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately

If your computer is already infected with unwanted apps, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam:

You've made the 9.68-billionth search!

Congratulations! You are the lucky winner!

Every 10 millionth search is reached worldwide, we will proclaim a winner to send out a thank-you gift.

Please select your lucky prize below and claim it by following the instruction.

Screenshot of the second page displayed by "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam:

You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam second page

Text presented in this page:

Your Prize:


$1,000 Visa Gift Card
Congratulations! You win an $1,000 Visa Gift Card
Verify your information on the next page to continue.


Screenshot of the pop-up displayed after the "ACCEPT PRIZE" button is clicked:

Pop-up displayed after the second page of the You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

Text presented in this pop-up:

$1,000 Visa Gift Card is ready.
Fill in your contact information on the next page for the $1,000 Visa Gift Card.
***Do not exit this page as you will not be able to come back once you give up the chance.***


The appearance of "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam (GIF):

Appearance of You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pop-up scam?

It is a fake (deceptive) message/notification designed to trick visitors into performing certain actions.

What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?

In most cases, a pop-up scam is used to trick visitors into providing sensitive information, downloading malware (or other unwanted software), paying money for fake services (or software), or providing remote access to computers.

Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?

Usually, pop-up scams are displayed/delivered by shady websites. It is uncommon for such pages to be visited on purpose. Most of them are promoted via deceptive ads, browser notifications, or other pages of this kind.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?

Combo Cleaner will scan visited pages and detect pages designed to deliver pop-up scams (and other untrustworthy pages). It will warn you about such pages and restrict access to them.

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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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