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Avoid getting scammed by the fake "Google Membership Rewards" program

Also Known As: Google Membership Rewards pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is "Google Membership Rewards"?

"Google Membership Rewards" is a scam presented as a prize raffle. The scheme claims that users should select the correct answers to the following multi-choice questions - they will win a prize worth up to 1099 USD.

The fraudulent gift giveaway was supposedly created as a show of gratitude for users' support of Google products and services. It must be emphasized that "Google Membership Rewards" is in no way associated with Google LLC, and all of the information provided by it - is false.

Online scams are promoted on various untrustworthy websites, which users rarely access intentionally. Most enter such pages via mistyped URLs, or redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or installed PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).

Google Membership Rewards scam

The "Google Membership Rewards" scam congratulates users for allegedly being selected as winners of Google gifts. The scheme claims ten users are chosen once a day to win a prize. The gift is guaranteed and only available for the selected user.

The fake giveaway is stated to be a "thank you" for users' continued support of Google products/services. The scam then makes statements that contradict its previous claims. It informs users that they can win the prize (worth up to 1099 USD) if they correctly answer the four following questions.

The scheme also urges users to act immediately since the number of nonexistent prizes is limited. As mentioned in the introduction, "Google Membership Rewards" is fake, and it cannot be trusted. By trusting this scam, users can experience a wide variety of serious problems.

The sole purpose of scams is to generate profit for their designers, yet how they make revenue - differs. Fake prize giveaways often ask victims to make relatively small monetary transactions (compared to the supposed gift).

For example, the scheme may request users to pay shipping, storage, transaction, subscription, registration, and similar bogus fees. Hoax raffles can operate in tandem with phishing scams, which aim to extract sensitive and personal information.

Data of interest includes: various account log-in credentials (i.e., usernames and passwords), names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.

The gathered data can then be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals), used to further personalized scams, make fraudulent transactions, online purchases, and so on.

To summarize, trusting the "Google Membership Rewards" scheme can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, identity theft, and other problems.

Potentially unwanted applications can be responsible for rogue redirects to misleading, deceptive, and malicious sites (e.g., ones running the "Google Membership Rewards" scam). These apps usually appear legitimate and offer "handy" features, which are seldom operational.

Furthermore, unwanted software can have heinous functionalities, and the functions can be in different combinations. Adware-type PUAs deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns. The delivered pop-ups, banners, coupons, and other ads - cripple the browsing experience and endanger device/user safety.

Once clicked on, intrusive adverts redirect to untrustworthy/dangerous websites, and some can download/install software stealthily. Another PUA type called browser hijacker operates by modifying browsers and limiting/denying access to their settings - in order to promote illegitimate search engines.

The promoted web searchers typically cannot provide search results, so they redirect to Yahoo, Bing, Google, and other genuine search engines. What is more, most PUAs can track data.

They monitor browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories) and collect vulnerable information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and personally identifiable details). PUA developers monetize the collected data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Google Membership Rewards pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Users can win a fake prize by answering multi-choice questions correctly.
Disguise Scam is disguised as a prize giveaway created by Google.
Related Domains nature38standwould[.]live
Detection Names (nature38standwould[.]live) Google Safebrowsing (Phishing), Kaspersky (Malware), 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)

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"Chrome search contest 2021", "Spin The Wheel", "Win The New iPhone 12", "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" - are some examples of schemes akin to "Google Membership Rewards".

The Internet is full of misleading and deceptive content designed to generate revenue at use expense. Popular scam models are: fake prize giveaways, unbelievable deals and offers, warnings that the system is infected or at risk, alerts that a piece of software is outdated or missing, and so forth.

Regardless of what these schemes claim, offer, promise, request, or demand - they cannot be trusted. Due to how widespread scams are online, it is highly recommended to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

Select PUAs have "official" download webpages, which are often promoted by deceptive/scam sites. These applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other programs. This false marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling".

Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device.

Intrusive adverts are also used to spread PUAs. Upon being clicked, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research products before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources.

Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (Torrent clients, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer harmful and bundled content.

When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, and so forth.

Intrusive advertisements appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to various unreliable and dubious sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it.

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 "Google Membership Rewards" scam:

Google Membership Rewards
Congratulations undefined User! Your IP has Won (1) Google Gift!
March 31 2021
Every we randomly selected 10 lucky users, once a day to receive a gift (Prize Guaranteed!) from Google. This gift is exclusively and ONLY for undefined undefined! This is just our way to thank you for your continuous support of our product and services.
You have been selected to win a gift worth up to $1,099.00 if you answer the next 4 questions correctly.

 

ACT NOW! 9 other users have received this invitation with only 5 prizes available to win.

 

You have a limited time to answer the questions before someone else takes over your spot. Good luck!

The appearance of the "Google Membership Rewards" pop-up scam (GIF):

Appearance of Google Membership Rewards scam (GIF)

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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

PUAs uninstall via Control Panel

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:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the google membership rewards pop-up, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (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.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with google membership rewards 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, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the google membership rewards pop-up, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the google membership rewards 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove google membership rewards pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Google Membership Rewards pop-up QR code
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