Very legitimate-looking but fake email notifications that purport to come from YouTube are being used to drive unsuspecting victims to an online pharmacy that sells counterfeit drugs.
" Pharmaceutical scammers are currently spamvertising a YouTube-themed email campaign, attempting to users into clicking on the links found in the legitimately looking emails," wrote cybercrime researcher Dancho Danchev on his company's blog.
The links, which claim to take users to a message from another YouTube user, actually take them to a website for Canadian Family Pharmacy, where they're presented with basement bargains for counterfeit versions of Viagra, Cialis and other popular drugs.
Through all these illicit attempts to drive traffic to the site, "it was desperately trying to remain online, which prevented the socially engineered users from initiating a transaction through it," Danchev said.
Internet users fall victim to these types of scams in greater numbers during the holidays. The temptation of a deal is something that cybercriminals count on, and all too often they find reliable victims.
Previous counterfeit campaigns have invoked Twitter and Facebook to make them more credible. One even touted itself as the "Google Pharmacy."
The best way to protect yourself anytime of the year is to double-check which sites you're visiting – especially when entering sensitive login or payment information.
This scam doesn't just put victims at risk financially, it's also a medical liability. Always go through legitimate channels when making an online purchase, especially when it comes to something as serious as medication.