What makes a good scam recipe? A combination of fake news, false reviews, and a suspicious product.
We often read and hear about phishing sites, that masquerade as well-known sites such as PayPal and Amazon, trying to capture user's information or sell imitations of products.
But in fact, there are more vicious purposes of disguising as well-known sites, one being Fake News, a kind of communication consisting of intentional disinformation or deceptions advertised through popular broadcast tools or online social media.
How does fake news happen? Scammers hijack the exact layout of news sites such as Fox News, CNN, ABC News, and more. These sites then post fake interviews with politicians and celebrities, which can be incredibly dangerous. They can have a significant effect on global issues like elections, and can also be used to implant ideas on topics like making you believe celebrities use magic pills that can make you powerful like Bradley Cooper in Limitless.
Our research team at Guardio found this suspicious item and decided to share a full coverage of all the ingredients in the scam piece of content since users do not always fully understand why we warn about a News looking website. So let's take a closer look at this case:
1. Click bait
First, scammers lure you in with catchy headlines. Trump, elections, pills, what more do you need to make you click?
2. The look
At first glance, the website has a layout similar to the one of Fox News. But a quick check to the actual site would show you it's not the same.
Real Fox News site:
3. The URL
Even the savvy reader wouldn't get suspicious here.
It looks like the fox news domain. However, take a closer look and see that the domain is foxnews.com-live [dot] page and tricks you into thinking it's the real domain:
Notice how they both have the lock next to the URL. People tend to think that this is a sign the site is safe, we're here to tell you that although it can indicate that, it most certainly is not something to rely on.
4. The Links
Hover over any link on the false Fox News site, and you will discover it's all a phony layout, and that every single place leads to the same URL.
5. The Content.
Oh boy, what a piece of work. We were going to copy and paste an example from the text when something else came up. The text isn't even live, and it's all an image. Another sign of a phony site. But anyhow, let's take a look at some of our favorite sentences in this article:
- The first paragraph introduces us to the idea of these magic pills, and that Trump was taking them. Intriguing.
- After the first paragraph, when the reader's attention is captured, the pills now have a name, and mentions of "Nootropic" begin to appear rapidly.
- Once we get acquainted with the name of the pill, false research facts appear that are highly convincing.
- Followed by false facts and test results, we begin to see name droppings of well-known personas such as Tom Brady and Steve Hawkins, who supposedly have admitted to using these pills.
- Other images in the article include more headlines on shockingly, the same topic.
6. The Ads
Along with the persuasive content, the endless links from any place of the article that aren't direct advertising, the product itself is also straightforwardly displayed in several areas. Every moment you try to step away from the content, the vast pop up comes up.
Scroll down to find yet another limited offer deal.
Using credibility methods is a clever way to convince consumers into believing products are legit. But even these can be forged.
- Fake proof of purchases. Every few seconds, a little pop up appears declaring someone just ordered one bottle or more.
- False Facebook reviews on the bottom of the page that seems very legit and convincing.
- Information on you how many others are reading this right now. More readers make it more reliable, and more people that could snatch the last bottles before you do.
- National Geographic: A trusted magazine that happens to feature the same topic, now they are getting to your subconscious.
8. The Product Scam
So what happens when you click to buy this miraculous product?
We did so that you wouldn't have to.
After choosing to proceed to the suspicious site, we got redirected to this page:
The actual product the scammers are trying to sell you are CBD drops, which don't even look like the bottle advertised. The web page is full of false details, making it look reliable such as endorsement stamps, a Facebook button that shows how many liked the product, but it's all fake.
9. The Bigger Scam
The scam only begins here. The advertisement claims to offer you one free bottle, but one should always read the fine print. Once these scammers have your credit card number, you won't realize that you signed up for a monthly deal of this product. Every month you'll receive another bottle unless you cancel it. Oh, but trying to cancel, is pretty much a mission impossible. Well, maybe it is possible with these so-called magic pills.
10. The Solution
Beware, be safe, and don't believe in everything you read, even if it's on the news.