Social Networks

Facebook Scammers Use Yahoo! Group Links; Victims Duped by Classic Lose Weight Offers

An old timer of the social scam trade – a lose weight advertisement – is now adorned with links to Yahoo! groups. Scammers manage, in this way, to tune up their masterpieces of deceit in such a way as to persuade both the public at large and scam detection engines, which would not normally ban Yahoo! links.

The message that helps spread the scam is basically: “if you want to lose weight you should try HCG! I’ve been doing it for 18 days and already lost 23 lbs… it’s amazing HCG Drops for Healthy Fast Weight Loss! Lose a pound or more each day through the HCG Diet. Discover the secret to natural, permanent weight loss. Make a positive change in your life today. [Yahoo !group link]”. To give you an idea about the proportions of this phenomenon, 754 different URLs linking to such groups were detected in 72 hours.

Once you reach the group page, you are told to click on to reach your offer, as this is, in fact, just a fake pit stop. The Yahoo! bait’s job is done here, but its aura might still persist, long enough to keep you clicking towards…the unknown.


At this point you get redirected to web pages displaying the logo of well-known broadcast stations (Fox news in the example below), a strategy reminiscent of the “work from home scam schemes” that pestered Twitter users not so long ago.


The noteworthy detail is that a “redirect through trustworthy link” trend seems to be forming here as this Yahoo! episode adds to the recently discovered use of Dropbox URLs in channeling users towards spammy sites.

This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Alin Damian, Online Threats Researcher.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.

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  • I think everybody should check out the Scam Detector app. I believe they’re online as well.