Have you received an email that looks like it came from someone you know, but it only had a hyperlink. What is that all about?
The FTC’s Chicago office has brought two cases against the people that use these spam emails to sell bogus diet pills.
Several years ago crooks hacked the Yahoo email accounts of a massive number of people, also obtaining the email contacts in these hacked accounts. Thus if they had hacked the account of Bob Heinlein, all of his contacts would receive an email containing a hyperlink, perhaps with a subject line such as “Hi, have you seen this?”
Those who click on the links are taken to web pages that look like articles by real consumer reporters, who claim that they tried diet pills and were “astonished” at how well they work. These fake news pages also claim that celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey use the pills, and contain fake testimonials from supposed users. The fake news pages have a hyperlink to one of the web sites where victims can order the Defendant’s worthless diet pills.
The FTC says that the Defendants in the Fowler case made at least $1.3 million from their efforts, and in Sale Slash at least $43.4 million.