In a new pain-free approach to cybercrime, email spammers are playing off Wikipedia's instant brand recognition to sell some instantly recognizable brands — Viagra, Lipitor, Celebrex — of their own.
The spam campaign starts with an email that looks to be from Wikipedia explaining that you, the recipient, need to confirm your email address. According to the Symantec researchers who spotted this new batch of spam, the message gives you what looks like an easy out; you are "free to cancel this message" by clicking a link.
Of course, the URL embedded in the message is the bait, and clicking on it redirects you to WikiPharmacy, a website that cleverly spoofs Wikipedia's layout to sell an A to Z index of prescription pills.
Among the hundreds of medications WikiPharmacy illegally offers: Cialis, Propecia, Amoxicillin, Female Pink Viagra, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Chantix, Prevacid and Human Growth Hormone. Some, like the antidepressant Lexapro, are sold from 63 cents to $2.55 per pill.
The rogue online pharmacy claims to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau — another outright lie. The BBB warned that WikiPharmacy is "not BBB accredited," and that, "This company's website contains the BBB Torch Logo and a BBB Business Review that is false. The business is not a member of this BBB and our policies prohibit such a reference."
The BBB advisory also states that despite WikiPharmacy's stated address, 101 California Street in San Francisco, mail to the office has been returned and marked "undeliverable," and that the State of California informed the BBB that WikiPharmacy's headquarters appears to be in the Ukraine.
WikiPharmacy even claims to be backed by the FDA. The "Certificate of Registration," however, is from FDA Registrar Corp., a Virginia-based company that is in no way affiliated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is not licensed to act on its behalf. (The BBB said WikiPharmacy's FDA Registrar Corp. certificate is fraudulent.)
Let's make this clear: If you take a prescription medication, get it from a doctor and legitimate pharmacy, not by handing over your credit card details to a shady online repository. There is absolutely no guarantee you'll get anything for your money, or that what they'll send you will be anything more than a sugar pill.