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How to remove apps designed to promote Home Improvement Reward scam?

Also Known As: Home Improvement Reward phishing scam
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Home Improvement Reward scam removal instructions

What is Home Improvement Reward scam?

Fake online surveys is one of the ways that scammers use to trick unsuspecting users into providing personal, often sensitive information that could be monetized in one or another way. Also, fake surveys can be used to trick users into making money transactions, providing credit card details. Research shows that this fake survey is promoted via email - scammers send emails disguised as letters from Lowe's (retail company) encouraging recipients to confirm a delivery and offering a reward in return. The actual Lowe's company has nothing to do with this email or the survey promoted through it. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to trust this email.

Home Improvement Reward scam scam

Scammers behind the email used to promote a fake survey claim that recipients can receive their reward through a website that can be accessed by clicking the "please Confirm" or "Continue the delivery" hyperlink. Those links open a page claiming that visitors can receive at least $90 reward for participating in a survey. That survey contains questions regarding the use of coupons or promo codes when shopping home improvement retailers, age range, preferred stores, last purchased product, payment methods used for online shopping, and a couple of other questions. Once that survey is completed, visitors are asked to choose one of the offered rewards and click the "CLAIM REWARD" button next to it. Each button opens a different website asking to provide the same details such as first and last name, email address, phone number, street address, city, state, ZIP code. The main purpose of this whole scam is to trick users into believing that after providing that information they will receive the selected reward. Although, this is just a scam, and nobody ever received any reward. It is important to mention that quite often scams of this type (fake surveys) are used to extract credit card details or other financial information or trick users into paying "transaction", "administration", or other fees.

It is important to mention that users who fall for such scams tend to suffer monetary loss, encounter problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, become victims of identity theft or experience other problems. As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, this particular fake online survey/scam website is promoted through email. It is noteworthy that deceptive ads, websites, and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) can be used to promote survey scams and other scams as well. Users who have some PUA installed on a browser or the operating system should be aware that apps of this kind can be designed to generate various unwanted advertisements and collect information related to browsing activities or more personal details. Therefore, apps of this kind should not be installed on browsers (or computers).

Threat Summary:
Name Home Improvement Reward phishing scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims that users will receive a reward if they complete a short survey.
Related Domains includingfuture[.]com
Detection Names (includingfuture[.]com) Fortinet (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 172.67.175.21
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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A couple of examples of other scams similar to this one are "Shipping Survey Reward", "USPS Rewards", and "Onlinemart Reward". These survey scams are created with the purpose trick visitors into believing that after providing some information and answering a few questions, they will receive a chosen reward. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, untrustworthy websites often are promoted through PUAs. If a browser opens shady websites by itself and does it regularly, then it is possible that it has some PUA installed on it. As a rule, users download and install apps of this kind unknowingly.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

A popular way to distribute PUAs is to bundle them with other programs. More precisely, to include those applications in downloaders, installers for other programs as additional offers. Usually, unwanted offers can be declined before finishing downloads, installations -  it can be done by changing "Advanced", "Manual", "Custom", or other settings, or by unticking ticked checkboxes. Users agree to download, install unwanted applications when they leave those settings unchanged or checkboxes ticked. Sometimes users cause unwanted downloads, installations after clicking ads that are desinged to execute certain scripts. It is worthwhile to mention that most of these ads appear only on untrustworthy websites.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. It is because other sources for downloading them can be used to proliferate unwanted, potentially malicious applications. Some examples of unreliable sources, channels are third-party downloaders (and installers), unofficial pages, free file hosting pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), and so on. Downloaders and installers that have "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings of this kind should be checked for bundled applications. It is important to opt out those applications before finishing downloads, installations.  Otherwise they will be downloaded or installed together with programs that have them included in their downloaders, installers. Also, it is recommended not to click on ads if they appear on questionable websites. More often than not those ads lead to dubious pages. In some cases, those ads can execute scripts designed to download (or even install) unwanted software. Unwanted, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons, plug-ins) installed on a browser and software of this kind installed on the operating system should be removed. 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 Home Improvement Reward fake survey scam page (GIF):

home improvement reward scam website appearance

Text presented in the Home Improvement Reward fake survey scam page:

Over $4,000,000 in Offers given out so far!
Home Improvement
May 06, 2021 Flag
Take Survey Today

and get a
$90
promo reward

Congratulations!
Please tell us about your home improvement experience, and as a thank you, you can select from several exclusive offer rewards!

This offer is available for today only: May 06, 2021.
Take Survey Now

Screenshot of the email used to promote this scam:

home improvement reward scam email

Text in email:

Subject: Client ID:59147-4319 , Confirm your lowes $1000 Expire Soon

Lowes.com
 
Hello ********!

You are Customer #4679929611 of US Lowes Rewards and we have been waiting for your confirmation since 05-06-2021 This delievery is for you
To activate the delivery , please Confirm.
Your account information
Customer:     ********
Email:     ********
Reward:     $90 Lowes
Continue the delivery

Screenshots of the phishing pages used to extract information:

home improvement reward scam phishing website home improvement reward scam phishing website 2 home improvement reward scam phishing website 3 home improvement reward scam phishing website 4

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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 home improvement reward phishing scam, 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 home improvement reward 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, 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 home improvement reward phishing scam, 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 home improvement reward 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.

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 home improvement reward phishing scam from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
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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.

QR Code
Home Improvement Reward phishing scam QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Home Improvement Reward phishing scam on your mobile device.
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