Dieters beware! Manufacturers of sham products like HCG Ultra have teamed up with cybercriminals to hack your email and Facebook. Have your friends posted on your Facebook wall about how they lost 20 pounds in 20 days? Have they emailed you a link to a Fox News Health article titled HCG Ultra Drops to Help Your Weight Drop? Don’t believe it. HCG Ultra, or a third-party associated with HCG Ultra, has hijacked your friend’s email or Facebook account to sell this bogus product without their permission. The Fox News Health article is fake and HCG Ultra doesn’t work. Would a legitimate company infect your computer with a virus and violate your privacy? Absolutely not. Keep reading to learn about this diet pill phishing scheme and how to avoid it.
HCG Ultra Drops Don’t Work
Let’s forget, for the moment, that HCG Ultra is connected to a shady fake news article and computer hacking. Even without these other elements, we wouldn’t recommend HCG Ultra to anyone who’s trying to lose weight.
HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. Promoters say that HCG suppresses hunger and kicks your metabolism into overdrive so your body starts burning excess fat. Dieters on HCG plans are instructed to follow a strict 500 calorie diet for 45 days while injecting HCG or taking HCG oral drops such as HCG Ultra. HCG manufactureres claim you’ll start to lose unwanted belly fat immediately and lose 20 pounds in 20 days.
But WebMD cites numerous studies that dispute the “miraculous” effects of HCG, noting that “scientific studies have demonstrated that HCG injections do not cause weight loss.” Experts point out that HCG hasn’t been approved by the FDA and evidence suggests that HCG drops, such as HCG Ultra, contain such a small percentage of the actual hormone that they’re basically a placebo. When users do lose weight on an HCG program, it’s because of the extreme near-starvation diet, not the HCG itself. WebMD warns that the consequences of this 500 calorie diet can be very dangerous to your health. Your body won’t be getting enough nutrients and you’ll lose valuable muscle mass instead of unwanted fat. The experts also say that those unwanted pounds will return as soon as you go off the diet.
On Scambook, we’ve received over 200 complaints world-wide against HCG Ultra Drops, with over $1 million in reported damages. As with other fad diet products like Sensa and African Mango, users report that they ordered a special free trial of HCG Ultra Drops and soon found themselves billed for a monthly supply. They tried to cancel their order or return the product for a refund, but our members reported tremendous difficulty getting through to HCG Ultra Drops’ customer service. Many members also feel deceived because the 500-calorie limit wasn’t mentioned on HCG Ultra’s website when they placed their order.
Is HCG Ultra Guilty of Illegal Privacy Violations?
Scambook members frequently accuse HCG Ultra Drops of hacking into their Facebook or
email accounts, or hacking into the accounts of their friends and family. We’ve seen this tactic employed many times by phishing fraud. Hackers use viruses or malware to get into your email or Facebook, then impersonate you and send messages to your contacts. It’s an unethical, devious and likely illegal in many states – but as a marketing tool, it’s proven very effective. You wouldn’t trust unbelievable weight loss claims in a random advertisement, but what if your best friend posts about it on your Facebook timeline? Or what if you get an email from your cousin, with a link to a Fox News Health article called HCG Ultra Drops to Help Your Weight Drop?
Phony news articles are a fairly common technique in advertisement. Companies often sponsor print stories or TV segments that portray their product as something innovative, useful or necessary for a consumer’s well-being. A faux-news story disguises its bias to sell consumers on “facts” or “results” that are either manipulated or blatantly untrue. Usually, faux-news ads will feature a disclaimer that they’re paid for by the company, or it will state that it’s an advertisement somewhere in the fine print. The companies that produce these ads are trying to mislead you, but at least they’re not outright lying — unlike the hackers who invade your Facebook account to promote HCG Ultra Drops.
The HCG Ultra Drops hacking campaign that we’ve witnessed on Scambook (and in our own personal email accounts) combines the principle of faux-news with the technique of a phishing attack. Phishing attacks often mimic real company websites; in this case, the responsible parties have created a very convincing mockup of a Fox News Health page. It’s indistinguishable at first glance, but if you look closer, there are several obvious warning signs:
1. The HCG Ultra Drops to Help Your Weight Drop page doesn’t come from a www.foxnews.com domain even though it’s branded as Fox News Health. Instead, it’s hosted at njournal24.com. “Njournal24″ might not sound too suspicious compared to other malicious websites, but think about: Fox News is a major media outlet. Why would they have a story anywhere on the internet except www.foxnews.com? This is a big red flag.
2. Links on the page don’t work, or if they do, they send you to the product order form. If this was really Fox News online, you would be able to read other articles or click on Facebook links in the comments. (However, some phishing websites are so sophisticated that the links to other content will work, so this isn’t always a dead giveaway.)
3. The news page uses too many stock images and graphics of the product. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the image of the “reporter” includes images of HCG Ultra Drops, and there are more images of the product than you’d normally see on a news page. They’re graphics, too, rather than real photos of people using the product or the product on a store shelf. If you cover the Fox News header with your hand, you may realize that the page looks more like an ad than a legitimate news story. Often, you can also spot a fake news ad from a real news story by comparing the mockup site with the real thing. Here, you’ll note that HCG Ultra Drops to Help Your Weight Drop has no side-buttons to share the page via email or print it, and it’s also using a different paragraph format.
You should also consider the source. We received our link to HCG Ultra Drops to Help
Your Weight Drop in a very suspicious email, with no subject and nothing in the contents of the email except this strange link. If this had been a real Fox News story that our friend shared with us, we would see a title in the subject and www.foxnews.com would be part of the link.
How to Avoid the HCG Ultra Drops Phishing Scheme
We’d be thrilled if weight loss products like HCG Ultra Drops really worked. It’s estimated that two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and carrying too many pounds is dangerous to your health. Companies like HCG Ultra and Sensa try to take advantage of your insecurities but they don’t offer real, safe, lasting solutions.
If someone posts on your Facebook timeline about HCG Ultra Drops, or you receive a link to that faux Fox News page, we urge you to ignore it. Any time you receive a suspicious message from a friend or family member, such as an odd email link with no subject or description (or a subject/description that doesn’t sound like something your friend would write), you should contact the sender and let them know that they may have been hacked. Delete the email and report it on Scambook.
If you click on a link and realize you’re on a phishing page like HCG Ultra Drops to Help Your Weight Drop, close your browser immediately and run your anti-virus software. Remember to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and active. Scan your computer every day to make sure you haven’t picked up any malware or viruses that will take over your accounts. For extra security, click here to watch our exclusive video about creating secure passwords.