What is the $500 Amazon Gift Card! scam?
Scammers behind this website attempt to trick visitors into believing that, if they complete a survey, they will receive a $500 Amazon gift card. Neither this nor other similar web pages are legitimate or trustworthy.
Commonly, scammers behind these pages ask users to provide personal information and, in some cases, even passwords, banking details, and other sensitive details.
Note that these sites are usually opened by browsers automatically when they have potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) installed on them.
This website may seem similar to the official Amazon website, however, Amazon has nothing to do with it.
The site states that visitors were randomly chosen to participate in a survey and that, for completing the survey, they will receive a $500 Amazon gift card in return. These pages often ask people to provide email addresses, names, surnames, home addresses, telephone numbers, and even information such as login credentials, credit card details, and so on.
This information could be used for various malicious purposes. For example, to steal identities and personal accounts, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, etc. The details could be sold to third parties. In any case, you are strongly advised to avoid such websites.
As mentioned, untrusted pages are often promoted by PUAs, however, these apps can also generate advertisements and collect data. Examples of ads that PUAs generate are banners, surveys, pop-up, and coupons. Examples of details that PUAs collect are IP addresses, entered search queries, geolocations, and addresses of visited websites. In some cases, PUAs record sensitive, personal details.
|Name||0 Amazon Gift Card! pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Visitors can receive a $500 Amazon gift card for participating in a survey|
|Detection Names (frees-prize[.]vip)||CRDF (Malicious), CyRadar (Malicious), G-Data (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||184.108.40.206|
|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.
There are many websites claiming that visitors can receive a prize in return for completing a survey. Some examples are "Amazon Loyalty Program", "$1000 Bank of America Gift Card" and "2020 Visitor Feedback Survey".
Most of these pages are disguised as official, legitimate sites and are designed to extract specific information from their visitors.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs 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 PUAs have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised not to use Peer-to-Peer networks (such as eMule, torrent clients, etc.), unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers, etc. to download or install software or files. Use official pages and direct links.
Check download/installation set-ups for settings such as "Advanced", "Manual, or "Custom" (or include certain checkboxes) and decline offers to download or install unwanted apps before completing the process.
Additionally, do not trust or click advertisements that are displayed on dubious web pages - they can open other rogue sites or cause unwanted downloads and installations.
Remove any suspicious or unknown extensions, add-ons and plug-ins installed on the browser. The same applies to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system.
If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
The appearance of the $500 Amazon Gift Card! scam (GIF):
Text this scam page:
Today, 4 January 2021, you have been randomly selected to take this survey. It will only take a minute and you will receive a amazing prize: $500 Amazon Gift Card!
Like every Monday, we offer amazing prizes to 10 users. Today's prize is a $500 Amazon Gift Card! Only 10 lucky users living in United States will be the winners!
This survey is conducted to improve the services provided to our users, and your participation will be 100% rewarded!
Hurry up, the prizes are limited!
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- What is 0 Amazon Gift Card! pop-up?
- How to identify a pop-up scam?
- How do pop-up scams work?
- How to remove fake pop-ups?
- How to prevent fake pop-ups?
- What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?
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:
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.