7/15/10

Another scam - Weekly Health USA: Tip of a Flat Belly

Last year, I made a somewhat lengthy analysis of an internet scam ("Google Money Masters"), so I won't go into those details here (plus, I'm at work).  But I thought this was too fun to pass up.  I was looking for a grunge font for work at urbanfonts.com and when I clicked on the category name, my browser opened another window to "Weekly Health News" showing an article on the "1 Tip of a Flat Belly: A Surprising New Way to Burn Fat Quickly."   I have to say, this is a pretty good looking scam.
The first thing that made me wonder is the picture of the supposed reporter lady person.  I've seen her all over the web, in suspicious-looking ads.  The second indicator was that the article supposedly originated in (guess where?) the city where I work, as well as the example of the woman losing 46 pounds.  Try it out - go to the article and I'm sure you'll find that the article magically originated in the city in which you are currently sitting, too!  My third source of suspicion came from the comments section.  They were all from the last two days.  Fantastic. Then last but not least, all of the links on the page lead to an advertisement for AcaiMax.  Scroll to the bottom and want to read about football? Too bad, it's AcaiMax.  How about Travel, or Racing (which is interestingly enough accompanied by an image of a mountain scape... I guess "mountain racing?")? Nope, AcaiMax again.  Then I pulled up the source code and had a good laugh.
The article purports to have been published on July 13, 2010, two days ago.  So I look at the code and find a little (messy!) bit of javascript that ends with this:

mydate.setDate(mydate.getDate()-2)
See the "-2" at the end?  Yeah, that says to set the date to two days before the current date and show it on the page.  This happens several times throughout the page, and is obviously dishonestly reporting the date to make it appear as though the article (and comment section) is recent.  Want to post a comment?  Too bad, because based on the source code and script, there's nothing actually submitting your comment anywhere!
There's more, but I'll stop.  I just find it incredibly entertaining to see how the "scam" continues to evolve.  This one looks pretty real, if you ask me.  But that's the idea - looks are deceiving, and now that we, the Web 2.0 generation, have such short attention spans, the marketers now that we look at the page for 5 seconds and then act.  Try to make it 10 and I think you'll see a lot more than they're showing you.
PS To the authors of this page, may I suggest a faster way to build an array, since it looks like you were in a hurry:
var month = [
  'January',
  'February',
  'March',
  'April',
  'June',
  'July',
  'August',
  'September',
  'October',
  'November',
  'December'
];

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the tip, i almost fell for the scam. but like you, i thought it was just a little too perfect (especially since i didnt seek the info either). from the reporter looking as if she's in the cnn studio to all of the links (the only links) to the very product that they were supposedly evaluating. so i decided to try & pull up the website itself to see what other articles were posted (since it's called 'weekly health'.
low and behold, there was no such website! and that's when i stumbled upon your blog. so again i thank you.. and i hope that you continue to expose as many internet scams as you can find!! too many unsuspecting innocents are falling victim to these moral-less thieves!!

Diane said...

Not only this, but the rainforest is being decimated to provide these berries to the gullible.

Anonymous said...

I can’t wait for your next post.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this exact same ad pop up on my screen. I actually had been searching for weight loss tips, so it took me a full 30 seconds to realize that, even though my home town was listed as the author of the article, it was a SCAM. I quickly Googled "Weekly Health USA" and your comments came up. Thanks for drawing attention, and clarifying this malicious scheme.
-Shannon, Upstate NY

Anonymous said...

Re: "Tip of a Flat Belly: A Surprising New Way to Burn Fat Quickly"
I clicked on this advert about 3 months ago for a free sample of "Super Acai" tablets, put my credit card details in for the £4.95p postage and was ripped off for £69. I am a British 74-year-old senior. The advert appeared to be British as the postage was in £'s, when I phoned their 'Customer Services' number to complain, I found I was talking to someone in Arizona. They said they don't give samples and that I had signed up for their course, I denied it, but they would't refund my money.They sent me 2 cartons of pills which I threw in the trash. How many people around the world are being robbed by this despicable organisation, worse than being mugged in the street.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I almost fell for it. You saved me bunch of needed money. Thanks a million again.

gull said...

That was awesome! Thanks for the recommendation! I even did a review on my website! Why am I using exclamation marks everywhere!

Anonymous said...

Good job!!! Thanks :)

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for posting. This scam popped up in my browser. I have no idea why. And like your first poster I tried to get the web site, weeklyhealth.org, to come up on its own. You know, to check it out and see if it was legit. It's NOT. The site doesn't even exist. Total SCAM.

Anonymous said...

I too thought it was a little too perfect. The one I read was Weekly Health Ireland and seemed to be affiliated to The Irish Times, a very reputable daily newspaper. But again a check showed the website didn't exist and I looked for Weekly health Britain -found it; Weekly Health usa -found it and hence to your warning. Hope a lot of people see the warning. I was almost persuaded...

sophie said...

I used to have a flat belly, when I was single and didn't have a baby yet. Mine is not that flat at all, this time, though. That is fine, I now have two little angels, happiness prevails.
phentermine 37

Anonymous said...

I almost fell for this scam when I saw it pop up on my phone while surfing the web. I wanted to look up the page on my computer and when I did your page showed up. Thank you very much for your article, I have been wanting to lose weight for sometime. Thank goodness I didn't give this company any money! Thanks again!!!!

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