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“Congratulations, You Won!”

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About

“Congratulations! You Won!” is an audio clip of a soundbite repeated by a male voice actor that has gained much online notoriety as the opening cue of autoplay pop-up advertisements of intrusive and malicious nature, which typically attempt to entice the Internet user to malware programs and scam websites by offering false promises of various prizes.

Origin

The exact origin of the ads are currently unknown. The first pop-up ads were created using a web interface developed by internet activist Ethan Zuckerman while he was employed at the web-hosting company, Tripod, in the mid 1990s. [2] On December 17th, 2008, the internet scams blog Fraudo [1] published an article titled “Congratulations You Won,” which lamented a type of intrusive pop-up ad that would send viewers to the Freelotto scam website (shown below).

Spread

On May 11th, 2010, YouTuber dwightpudding uploading a video titled “Congratulations, You Won!”, featuring the audio from the ad playing alongside a slideshow of various humorous images (shown below).

On November 2nd, 2011, YouTuber ostolero uploaded a clip from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion featuring the “Congratulations! You won!” audio playing in the background (shown below, left). On October 15th, 2012, the tech news blog Neowin [5] published an article reporting that the “Congratulations, you’ve won” ads were the “most popular online scam.” On December 28th, YouTuber Caius Abadon uploaded video of an animated GIF displaying the message “Congratulations, you won!” while the ad’s audio clip repeats in the background (shown below, right).

“Congratulations! You Won!” is an audio clip of a soundbite repeated by a male voice actor that has gained much online notoriety as the opening cue of autoplay pop-up advertisements of intrusive and malicious nature, which typically attempt to entice the Internet user to malware programs and scam websites by offering false promises of various prizes.

CAP Connection

Keeping Vermont consumers and businesses informed

Congratulations, You’re A Winner!

Have you received a letter, email, or even a Facebook message telling you that you have won a sweepstakes or lottery prize, such as thousands of dollars and a car? Have you been asked to send money to cover taxes or registration fees so that you can receive your prize? If so, you are being targeted by a common scam – no real sweepstakes prize would ask you to pay taxes or fees.

Scammers may pretend to be legitimate businesses such as Publisher’s Clearing House or Reader’s Digest, or may use a similar sounding name. You may even receive a check in the mail that looks legitimate. The scammers claim they have sent you some of your prize so you can use the money to cover the cost of fees or taxes. Do not deposit the check – it is fake! Scammers hope that you will send them real money from your account before the bank realizes that the check has bounced.

You may be instructed to not tell anyone about “winning” to protect your prize. This is an attempt to isolate you so your friends and family can’t warn you about the scam. Don’t take the scammer’s advice – call CAP at 1-800-649-2424 and we can help you determine if you are being scammed.

Remember: if you won a real sweepstakes prize, you would never need to pay a fee to claim your winnings. Never send money to get money!

Contributing Writer: Annalee Beaulieu
Content Editor: Crystal Baldwin

CAP Connection Keeping Vermont consumers and businesses informed Congratulations, You’re A Winner! Have you received a letter, email, or even a Facebook message telling you that you have