Google membership rewards scam: explaining the details.

Google membership rewards scam
Google membership rewards scam

Google membership rewards scam is a new popular type of online fraud. This page opens absolutely spontaneously, and says you got a valuable prize. With different techniques, fraudsters force you to share the personal information – name, phone number, email address, et cetera. And, as you can already guess, users get nothing, while cybercriminals get the personal data. Let’s check out the information about this fraud.

Google membership rewards scam: detailed review

This type of online fraud appeared at the edge of 2021; much earlier, the same scheme was used by fraudsters – about 10-15 years ago. There is no understandable explanation why cybercriminals decided to use such old methods. But it is effective, so they will likely keep using it further. As it was mentioned, the Google membership rewards page opens without your intention, and shows you the blinking banner which says that you won a prize. The exact prize is different – Visa, MasterCard or Amazon $1000 gift card, new iPhone or Samsung. In some cases, site says that you can get with Walmart certificates of the same value.

Google membership rewards scam
Typical appearance of Google membership rewards scam

Suddenly, it appears that you are not the single applicant for this gift. To figure out who is the winner, you need to take part in a quiz. Usually, it consists of absolute child questions, like “Who is the Google creator” or “Who is Steve Jobs”. And, regardless of the chosen answers, site says you are the winner. To get the prize, you just need to fill a form with your personal information, under the guise of filling the shipping information. After these manipulations, you will see nothing, and, of course, get nothing, too. And the cyber burglars get your personal data.

Google membership rewards scam may lead to money loss

In some cases, fraudsters can also offer you to pay for shipping. At this point, Google membership reward website opens a payment form. It looks like a one from the familiar payment system – PayPal or Visa, but, in fact, it is a counterfeit. It is easy to distinguish them – fake has a strange font, and may contain several mistakes in the invoice text. Besides the fonts and mistakes, you can also see that this payment website has no HTTPS certificate. Last one is an obligatory thing for modern payment systems, and the original Visa/MasterCard/PayPal/AmEx has this certificate. Here is an example of a fake PayPal page:

Fake PayPal payment site
The example of fake PayPal payment form

Such forms are pure phishing, which leads to credit card data theft. You may uncover this fact in a month, or even in a year. Criminals who are collecting the key digits of credit cards are not hurrying to go in cash. They may also sell this data to other criminals through the darknet. So, don’t be surprised when you will see unknown transactions by your card from the middle of nowhere.

Why does it appear again and again?

The appearance of Google membership rewards page is caused by malware presence. Usually, the appearance of this page is a result of adware activity – a virus which is used to make money on unwanted ads. It injects into your computer, and changes the networking settings. After these modifications, your browser starts showing you tons of ads. These promos are absolutely irrelevant to you and appear even on those sites which have no ads by default. Even popular anti-advertising browser plugins, like AdBlock, are not able to deal with this flooding. Sometimes, the developers of adware get a payment from other cybercriminals, like ones who maintain the Google membership scam. And the adware starts working on its new “customer”. Fortunately, you can easily delete this virus with anti-malware software.

It is quite easy to get adware on your PC, since it is very easy to make it invisible for anti-malware software. And the methods of its distribution are really countless. Main ones are described in this article – even these two are very hard to describe in a few words. Fortunately, you can easily delete this virus with anti-malware software.

By Stephanie Adlam

I write about how to make your Internet browsing comfortable and safe. The modern digital world is worth being a part of, and I want to show you how to do it properly.

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