Scam of the day – March 22, 2017 – FTC shuts down fraudulent weight loss scam

The FTC has settled a claim against scammers who were marketing worthless weight loss products through illegal spam emails and phony celebrity endorsements.  The scammers hacked into email accounts of unwary victims and used those email accounts to send out spam emails to people on the contact list of the hacked accounts with links purporting to be to an interesting news story.  Many people receiving these emails fell for the scam because they believed the email was coming from a trusted source.

The links led to websites that touted worthless weight loss products such as Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean.  The websites also contained false claims of weight loss such as 17 pounds in 4 weeks or 41.7 pounds in 2.5 months.  The websites also falsely represented that the products were featured or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey or the hosts of “The Doctors” television show.

TIPS

Whenever you receive an email purporting to be from a friend with a short note instructing you to click on a link to some important story, you should immediately be skeptical.  Often the emails seem out of character with the person who appears to be sending you the email which is because often their emails have been hacked and used to send out spam emails such as this.  If you get such an email and it is spam, you should let your friend know that their email account has been hacked.

Never click on links in emails unless you have verified that they are legitimate.  While in this particular case, clicking on the link would only take you to a phony website, often clicking on links such as this can download ransomware or keystroke logging malware that will enable a hacker to steal your personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

As for weight loss products, you should always do your research and check with your primary care physician before considering buying any product promising to help you lose weight easily.

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