According to this email, which purports to be from cross-platform messaging application WhatsApp, you have a new voice message. The message features a large ‘AutoPlay’ button that supposedly allows you to hear your message.
Email is Not From WhatsApp — Link Opens Pharmacy Spam Website
However, the email is not from WhatsApp and the button does not lead to a voice message. Clicking the button actually opens a version of the notorious Canadian Pharmacy spam website that tries to sell you dodgy pharmaceutical products.
The spammers apparently believe that, by disguising their spam message as something completely unrelated to pharmaceutical products, it may effectively bypass spam filters as well as trick recipients into clicking the link and visiting the site.
The spammers hope that at least a few recipients will actually stay on the site and purchase their suspect products. Since this is a tactic that has been used and reused over and over again, it obviously does work.
Dangerous to Buy Medicine from Spam Pharmacy Sites
It is unwise and potentially dangerous to purchase medications from such 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.
Similar Messages Open Malware Websites
In some cases, the dodgy pharmacy websites may also harbour various types of malware that, if downloaded and installed, can steal information from the infected computer.
This spam campaign is also similar to an earlier and unrelated malware attack that also consisted of fake WhatsApp ‘New Voicemail’ messages. Clicking the ‘Play’ button in the emails opened malicious websites that tried to trick people into installing malware on their computers or smartphones.
Be wary of any email that claims that you have a voice message from WhatsApp and should click a button to hear it. Genuine WhatsApp voice messages will be delivered via the app itself, not via a separate email.
An example of the spam email:
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!