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Fake LinkedIn Email Leads to Pharmacy Spam Website

Email purporting to be from LinkedIn claims that the recipient has been sent a message that they can view by clicking a link.

Brief Analysis
The message is not from LinkedIn. The link in the email opens a suspect online pharmacy website that tries to sell the user a range of dubious pharmaceutical products. If you receive this spam message, do not click any links that it contains.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 12th January 2011
First published: 12th January 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

[Name Removed] has sent you a message. Date: 01/11/2012

Click the link below to read this message in your browser.
[Link Removed]

View/reply to this message
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LinkedIn Spam

Detailed Analysis
This email, which is designed to resemble a genuine message from the business orientated social network LinkedIn, claims that a LinkedIn user has sent the recipient a message. The recipient is urged to click a link in the email to view this message.

However, the message is not from LinkedIn. In fact, the link in the email leads to a dubious "drug store" website that tries to entice visitors to buy a range of pharmaceutical products, many of which are only legally available via a doctor's prescription in most jurisdictions.

The spammers apparently hope that, by disguising their spam message as something completely unrelated to pharmaceutical products, it will firstly get past spam filters and secondly fool users into clicking the link and visiting the site. The spammers bank on at least a few recipients actually remaining on the site and buying products. Since this is a tactic that has been used and reused over and over again, it obviously works.

In any case, it is very unwise - and potentially dangerous - to buy medicines from one of these bogus pharmacy sites. Firstly, even if you do actually receive a product that you order, you have no way of knowing if it is the real thing or some potentially dangerous substitute. Secondly, because the medicine has not been properly prescribed by a doctor, it may interfere with other medications that you are taking or be unsuitable for you due to existing health conditions. Thirdly, these sites often use unsecure pages to process credit card transactions, which could certainly put your credit card details at risk. Fourthly, any group unscrupulous enough to use such deliberately deceptive spam tactics is not one you should trust with your credit card details or other personal information.

Moreover, these bogus drug store sites sometimes harbour malware as well.

These spam messages use HTML to disguise the real destination of the links they display. Holding the mouse cursor over a link in the email should display the underlying web address in your email client's status bar and allow you to easily detect if the link is disguised.

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Last updated: 12th January 2011
First published: 12th January 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer