This article presents information about an online scam dubbed “Dear user, congratulations!” scam as well as help for its complete removal from the affected system.
“Dear user, congratulations!” is an online scam that interrupts browsing sessions in the form of a sudden redirect. Once it loads in the browser it could attempt to trick you into providing sensitive details such as banking credentials, personal data and account logins. In order to obtain data, this scam presents a misleading message about a gift you could receive.
Browser redirects appear to be the main technique used for the spread of “Dear user, congratulations!” scam message. So this scam is likely to be able to affect all commonly used web browsers (Chrome, Mozilla, Explorer, Safari, Opera, Edge, etc.).
Another reason for its unexpected appearance may be an unattended installation of any potentially unwanted program. How such a program could have landed on your device is as a part of software bundles.
The installation of PUPs usually occurs during the installation of desired free third-party applications. Unfortunately, this process often happens without your knowledge. This is due to the fact that freeware installers do not disclose properly the presence of any extras. Since there is also an option that enables the default installation of these extras you could easily end up with a running undesired app on your device once you click the Finish button presented by the installer.
A way to prevent installing undesired apps while installing desired apps is the choice of the Advanced/Custom configuration option as sometimes it reveals the presence of PUPs and enables you to opt out their installation.
“Dear user, congratulations!” Scam – More About Its Impact
“Dear user, congratulations!” is an online scam that affects commonly used web browsers in the form of a browser redirect. It could be generated by a large number of bogus domain addresses. One of these addresses was detected to be canadasweeps.club.
Here is the text you are likely to see when the scam loads in your browser:
Dear Chrome user, congratulations!
We want to thank you for being loyal Chrome Australia user! Your IP address – has been randomly selected to receive a Apple iPhone X.
From time to time we select a handful of Chrome users to give them the opportunity to receive valuable gifts from our partners and sponsors. This is our way of thanking you for choosing Chrome as your preferred service.
Today is your lucky day! You are one of the 10 randomly selected users who will receive a new Apple iPhone X.
To receive your gift, you simply have to complete our short and anonymous survey. But hurry! There are only a few gifts available today!
How satisfied are you with Chrome?
[Very Satisfied] [Satisfied] [Unsatisfied]
It is likely to be spread across all commonly used web browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, etc. As of the presented message, it could provide different information based on your location, current browser type, characteristics and visited websites.
One of the purposes of this misleading message is to convince you into participating in some kind of a game or a survey as this will give you the chance to win in this case an iPhone X. However, if you grab the chance you could become a target of fraudsters and malware actors.
The primary purpose of “Dear user, congratulations!” scam is definitely data theft. By offering you tempting gifts it aims to make you more prone to share sensitive details. For example, it could redirect you to a page that asks for banking credentials, device login, social media logins and other personal details.
Furthermore, this scam is also likely to utilize different tracking technologies to obtain some additional details automatically. Gathered could be:
Browser’s home page
Search queries on the visited web pages
Type of used browser
Operating system type
Internet protocol (IP) address
The domain name of current Internet service provider (ISP)
In order to prevent this scam from accessing your browser, you should consider its immediate removal.
How to Remove “Dear user, congratulations!” Scam
In order to remove “Dear user, congratulations!” scam and all associated files that enable its appearance in the browser, you need to pass through several removal steps. They are all presented in the removal guide below. The guide enables you to choose between manual and automatic removal approach. Our advice is to combine the steps as this way you will be able not only to get rid of this particular undesired program but also strengthen the security of your device. Have in mind that files associated with this redirect may have different names than “Dear user, congratulations!”.
In case that you have further questions or need additional help with the removal process, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us at our email.
Highly motivated writer with 5+ years of experience writing for ransomware, malware, adware, PUPs, and other cybersecurity-related issues. As a writer, I strive to create content that is based on thorough technical research. I find joy in the process of creating articles that are easy to understand, informative, and useful. Follow me on Twitter (@IRGergana) for the latest in the field of computer, mobile, and online security.
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How to Remove "Dear user, congratulations!" from Windows.
Step 1: Scan for "Dear user, congratulations!" with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
1.1 Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.
1.2 After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
1.3 After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
1.4 After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.
If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.
Step 2: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode
2.1 Hold Windows key + R
2.2 The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
2.3 Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.
2.4 When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.
2.5 You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
Step 3: Uninstall "Dear user, congratulations!" and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs.No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
3.1 Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
3.2 In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
3.3 This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.
Step 4: Clean Any registries, Created by "Dear user, congratulations!" on Your PC.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by "Dear user, congratulations!" there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
4.1 Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
4.2 When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
4.3 You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.
Video Removal Guide for "Dear user, congratulations!" (Windows).
Get rid of "Dear user, congratulations!" from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall "Dear user, congratulations!" and remove related files and objects
1.1 Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
1.2 Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
1.3 In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to "Dear user, congratulations!":
Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.
1.4 Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
1.5 In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to "Dear user, congratulations!". If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
1.6 Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference.
Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to "Dear user, congratulations!". Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
1.7 Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
Go to Finder.
In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove "Dear user, congratulations!" via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!
1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as "Dear user, congratulations!". If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove "Dear user, congratulations!" files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as "Dear user, congratulations!", the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for "Dear user, congratulations!":
Video Removal Guide for "Dear user, congratulations!" (Mac)
Remove "Dear user, congratulations!" from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase "Dear user, congratulations!" from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window:
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall "Dear user, congratulations!" from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove "Dear user, congratulations!" from Safari
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the "Dear user, congratulations!" will be removed.
How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.
Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.
Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.
Eliminate "Dear user, congratulations!" from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications from Your Browsers
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings.
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".
It may slow your computer down significantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What Are the Symptoms of "Dear user, congratulations!"?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and have poor performance in general.
Symptom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts recommend that you check your computer for viruses.
What Types of Unwanted Programs Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:
Rogue Antivirus programs.
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like "Dear user, congratulations!"?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1:Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2:Change all of your passwords, starting from your email passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activities with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7:(Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8:Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these recommendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
How Does "Dear user, congratulations!" Work?
Once installed, "Dear user, congratulations!" can collect data about your web browsing habits, such as the websites you visit and the search terms you use. This data is then used to target you with ads or to sell your information to third parties.
"Dear user, congratulations!" can also download other malicious software onto your computer, such as viruses and spyware, which can be used to steal your personal information and show risky ads, that may redirect to virus sites or scams.
Is "Dear user, congratulations!" Malware?
The truth is that PUPs (adware, browser hijackers) are not viruses, but may be just as dangerous since they may show you and redirect you to malware websites and scam pages.
Many security experts classify potentially unwanted programs as malware. This is because of the unwanted effects that PUPs can cause, such as displaying intrusive ads and collecting user data without the user’s knowledge or consent.
About the "Dear user, congratulations!" Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this "Dear user, congratulations!" how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on "Dear user, congratulations!"?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the "Dear user, congratulations!" threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.