If while browsing the Web you are redirected to another webpage that displays “Amazon.com Membership Rewards.” it is likely that you have installed a potentially unwanted program (PUP) on the computer.
In particular, the “Amazon.com Membership Rewards” redirect is often seen because a user has installed adware on the computer without realizing it. This can happen if you installed a torrent file without recognizing what else was packaged inside, and by several other deceitful techniques that you may never have been aware of or given a chance to skip its installation. It’s one reason why you don’t want to download torrent files unless you know what you’re doing, or download files from sources online that you are not familiar with. Some torrent sites even so far as purposefully displaying adware as sponsored links because they aren’t websites that can get accepted into any trustworthy advertising programs available on the Web.
Potentially Unwanted Programs are programs that you may not want to have installed on your computer. Such a term is too kind for these Amazon.com Membership Rewards advertisements. When installing free programs, often the developers will have optional third-party installments shown before you download the tool you’re after. They do this because they make money from anyone who agrees to install the third-party software. But when it comes to reliable tools, they only ever decide to show legitimate programs and third-party software that you can install. They don’t allow adware to promote themselves and be packaged in with their software. Adware almost always comes from illegal downloads such as some movie torrent files that are being offered for free.
Often people have adware on their computers without even realizing it—they think they hate advertisements because they are seeing far more of them than they should be. When you visit a webpage, it displays advertisements to you and it chooses how many of them you see. When you’ve got adware on your computer though, you may start to see additional banner advertisements that are not being loaded by the websites that you visit—the adware is installed on your computer and continues to show you the same or similar ads each time you visit a different webpage. Often it takes a well-trained Web guru to be able to tell the difference, or the owner of the website you’re visiting to see your computers display and realize that something isn’t quite right.
The good news is that there are reliable programs out there that can cure your computer of the adware infection—once you’ve installed the adware remover program, it will clean your PC from all the adware that was displaying on your computer. Once the scan is complete and you restart the computer, you’ll be able to start using the PC again, healthy and free from any adware that was plaguing your machine.
Tips for Avoiding Malware in the Future
If you have malware on your computer, you can always install an antimalware program and run a scan to try to remove it. But some experts suggest that even if you do that, it is not a given that all malware can be removed—once it gets access to your system, it might not ever get taken away.
So naturally, that means you should try preventing the malware from getting on your computer in the first place.
Here are some of the most common ways you can avoid getting malware on your PCs:
- Be careful what you download. Some websites are far more likely to have malware on them than others. If you are using a reliable web browser, it should already give you decent protection by alerting you to sites that may be harmful—do not ignore those warnings. What’s more, try not to visit any websites that you think may be untrustworthy: torrenting sites can be beneficial, and the founders are not necessarily evil, but you need to remember that random people around the world are uploading those files. Torrenting sites are some of the most notorious for malware for this reason—not everyone is interested in helping you download free files without them getting something in return. Often that return comes in the form of malware tucked away within the files you download, thinking that they’re only movies.
- Install (full paid versions of) third-party antimalware programs. If your operating system is not protecting you well enough from malware threats, you ought to look into third-party programs. They will not always protect you in real-time for free, but the paid versions often do. That means if the program detects the file you are about to download is malware, it will let you know about it with a warning. At this stage, Microsoft Windows does not automatically block potentially unwanted programs, so third-party protection for malware is still very useful.
- Keep all data and personal information safe. Malware only becomes a problem if it gets its hands on whatever it is looking for. Simply being on your computer is not necessarily the end of the world; it is what it does from that position of power that counts. Look into ways of keeping your data safe, such as using file encryption. Windows 10 comes with EFS for encrypting individual files and also BitLocker encryption for the full disk.
- Keep your software up to date. It does not matter what software you have; if it is outdated, then it may also be insecure. Simply being old software does not necessarily open up new doorways for vulnerabilities; rather, new updates potentially close old vulnerabilities. If you know there are no vulnerabilities, your software is fine to continue using. However, if vulnerabilities are found, updates are critical. If you do not want to follow the news every day, it is best just to keep updating and know that you are safe. That means keeping up to date with your operating systems updates as well. If using Windows, keep Windows Update installing those updates that give you fresher OS versions.
- Keep networks secure. All your computers (desktops, laptops, smartphones), and other peripherals such as printers, when connected to WiFi, are often connected to the same network. You need to make sure that the network is secured with a password. Otherwise, your WiFi connection will be open. The best security today is with WPA or WPA2 encryption. You typically do not have much to worry about here, as it is automatically implemented by your WiFi provider. But make sure it stays that way.
- Do not use open WiFi. You have heard the warning: stay away from that open WiFi you get at airports, unless you need it. The idea behind this warning is because it is open, it also means people with malicious intent also have easy access to it; thus, the information on your smartphones, tablets, and laptops is not going to be safe.
How to Remove “Amazon.com Membership Rewards” Pop-up Scam
1. Head to the official AdwCleaner webpage from Malwarebytes and click on the Free Download link toward the bottom of the page.
2. If your browser gives you a notification that says “This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the adwcleaner_x.exe anyway, click on the Keep button.
3. Click to open the AdwCleaner file once it has finished downloading.
4. If User Account Control prompts you, click on the Yes button.
5. Click on the I Agree button when you get to the welcoming and license agreement screen.
Click on the Scan Now button to scan your computer of adware and potentially unwanted programs.
The AdwCleaner tool will now quickly scan your computer and find the threats.
Click on the Clean & Repair button from the Scan results page to clean the computer.
You can choose to Clean and Restart Later or Clean and Restart Now depending on what suits your needs. Any unsaved work will be lost if you proceed to shut down now, but you’ll want to shut it down before expecting your computer to be ridded from the adware.
After a few minutes, the AdwCleaner interface will automatically open itself up on your computer’s display once again and show you the results.
Any adware that was detected will now be held in the Quarantine section of the AdwCleaner program. You can if you prefer still uninstall the AdwCleaner from your computer after you’re finished your scans and still expect to browse the Web without seeing the adware that you were before.