Home Spam Reports Foursquare ‘Friend Request Approved’ Pharmacy Spam

Foursquare ‘Friend Request Approved’ Pharmacy Spam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline
Email purporting to be from social networking service Foursquare claims that a recent Foursquare friend request has been approved. 

Brief Analysis
The message is not from Foursquare. The link in the message opens a bogus “drug store” website that attempts to sell pharmaceutical products without the need to provide a prescription. The suspect sites may also harbour malware.

Example

From: foursquare
Subject: [Name removed] is now your friend
Hey there – Just a heads up that [Name removed] has approved your friend request on foursquare. View their profile: [Link removed]

Have fun!
– Your friends @ foursquare

foursquare labs, Inc. 568 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Please remember you can always go to your User Settings page to adjust your account and contact info, privacy controls, email preferences and options linking to Twitter and Facebook.

Foursqare Pharmacy Spam Email

 

Detailed Analysis
According to this email, which claims to be from mobile device orientated social networking service Foursquare, a recent friend request sent by the recipient has been approved. The message includes the name of the user who supposedly approved the friend request and invites the recipient to click a link to read the user’s Foursquare profile.

However, the message is not from Foursquare and the “friend request” claims are simply the bait designed to trick recipients into following the included link. Those who do click the link will be taken to a bogus “pharmacy” website designed to sell various medications without the need to provide a prescription.

The name of the imaginary user that supposedly approved the friend request varies in different incarnations of the spam emails. The messages use spoofed email addresses to make it appear that they are genuine Foursquare notifications. The criminals responsible for this spam campaign bank on the fact that some recipients will click on the link in the message without due care and attention in an attempt to find out why they have received a friend request approval from someone they don’t even know. 

And this spammer tactic obviously works. This message is just one more variant in a long line of very similar spam campaigns that have misused the names of other high profile online services, including YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Thus, it is clear that at least a few of the users who are tricked into following links in the fake messages actually stay on the spam sites and buy their suspect products.

It is foolish – and potentially dangerous – to buy products from such 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 typically 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, some such sites may also harbour malware of various types that users may inadvertently download and install on their computers.

If you receive one of these fake notification emails, do not click on any links that it may contain.



Importance Notice

After 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 You

I 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 Date

Hoax-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!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer