December 4, 2009 at 2:35 am Comment (1)
Be warned against an unscrupulous e-mail that masquerades as having been sent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This latest scam joins the ranks of counterfeit Tamiflu ads as well as other ads advocating various products that can allegedly offer protection against swine flu.
The supposed e-mail from the CDC looks legitimate enough and calls for the recipient to create a “personal H1N1 (swine flu) vaccination profile on the cdc.gov website.” As is to be expected of these types of modus operandi, a link to the supposed profile-creation page is conveniently provided.
The link provided in the e-mail will reportedly take the user to a fake CDC Web page. The actual Web address indicated in the e-mail will lead one to think that the site is operated by CDC.gov; there is, however, a hidden portion in the address that yields the actual location of the site – Belgium.
A spokesman for the CDC, Tom Skinner, has confirmed that the site and the e-mail are both fake, and the Center has plans of posting a statement on their official website in order to warn people against falling prey to the hoax.
The fake e-mail is also featured in a post on the PrintCountry blog, which says that following the link to the vaccination profile will run an executable file that contains a copy of the Kryptik Trojan. The Trojan reportedly has the ability to create “a security-free gateway on your system” which will then allow it to “download and install additional malware without your authorization.” Perhaps more critical is the fact that the malware will allow a hacker to take complete control of your computer as it is able to log typed keystrokes and send confidential personal and financial data to a remote hacker.
October 28, 2009 at 3:14 am Comments (0)
You are concerned about your and your family’s welfare, so you dutifully sign up for flu clinics, swine and otherwise. Since not everyone can be served all at one time and doses are not handed out en masse, what else can you do?
Other than consult your doctor and keeping yourself informed regarding the steps that you can do to protect yourself and your family as suggested by your health care providers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – nothing. And that is by far probably the best thing that you should do, all things considered.
The FDA is warning about “natural” supplements and other products such as shampoos and sprays that claim to be “effective” against prevention or treatment of swine flu that is proliferating on the internet. These products do not have FDA-approval, which means that these have either not been sufficiently tested and have not been regulated. Thus, there is no basis to back their claims.
The FDA is proactively seeking these manufacturers and merchants out to warn them against baseless claims and advertising, and some products have already been removed from shelves, or their marketing claims modified. There have also reportedly been cases where entire websites selling such products have been removed.
It can be rather easy to fall prey to such attractive advertising ploys. There is undoubtedly a certain level of anxiety that is surrounding swine flu and its occurrences, and the delays in delivering the vaccines are not a lot of help either, although more doses have reportedly become available. It is not surprising for people to try to do something else in the interim if they could not get vaccinated yet; or even try to do everything that is possible, approved or not. This is not necessarily prudent, though, as unapproved and insufficiently tested products may even be harmful.
A list of these products has been posted online by the FDA, so those who would like to do so may check the list out.
April 30, 2009 at 8:56 am Comments (0)
It is disheartening to note that while most of us are concerned about swine flu and there a some out there who are currently suffering from it, there are others who are out to make an extra buck out of someone else’s panic, fear or misery.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning against web sites and e-mails that are out to scam people out of hard-earned cash under the guise of being of assistance towards keeping swine flu at bay. The BBB reported an unprecedented sudden increase in web activity, which includes the registration of domains, which are normally indicative of scams. Hundreds of new sites that have “swine flu” in the URL have cropped up. There are also reports of spam e-mails being sent out that claim that Madonna and other celebrities have contracted swine flu, and within these e-mails are links to online pharmacies.
The effects of these scams may include the downright selling of items at ridiculous prices that your don’t really need – such as a “Swine Flu Survival Kit” that includes nothing more than latex gloves and a mask. One site reportedly offers “Swine Flu Formula” composed of 100 veggie capsules with Vitamin C, olive leaf and cat’s claw extract. Another would be identity theft, as scammers take advantage of credit card and other personal information provided by a consumer. There are also those who reportedly go as far as offering swine flu vaccine – when we know very well that there isn’t any. And even if there isn’t any case yet, a technical bug such as a computer virus that can be spread via e-mails with “swine flu” as a subject may not be far behind.
The best way to protect one’s self from these scammers – as if it wasn’t enough that we needed to protect ourselves against swine flu in the first place – is to keep one’s self informed so that one does not easily get swayed by schemes such as medicines and vaccines. Be wary of e-mails from sources you don’t know, and never trust “new medicines” and such announcements. Stick to reliable online sources when doing your reading or making medical purchases.