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Scamming consumers to educate them about online scams

Scamming consumers to educate them about online scams

Flabkiller

We’ve all seen these types of web sites, promising weight loss, easy money and other things. But this one is not what it seems.

Click any navigation on the page, and it takes you here:

ConsumerAffairs

This online campaign by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation alerts consumers about common scam web sites by creating some of their own.

In addition to Flabkiller (above) the campaign site, topmassachusettsdeals.com, hosts:

ModExperts (fake loan modification services)
DebtMenders (fake debt relief)
Envelope Elf (a work-at-home scam)
Deals R Us (a “win a prize” scam)
At-Home Biller (fake medical billing offer)

All of the faux sites are apparently promoted by appropriately cheesy banner ads. The reveal page states, “The advertisement you responded to is a FAKE advertisement posted by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to warn and educate consumers about the work-at-home scams that exist in today’s marketplace. If you had responded to an offer like this, you could’ve been the victim of a scam like many other consumers today.”

Barbara Anthony, Massachusetts Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, told The Consumerist, “The Internet allows cyber criminals to get into your living room without even being in the country. Every year consumers lose millions and millions of dollars to cyber-crooks in addition to something more important than money – their personal identity.”

If any Mass. readers have access to screenshots of the ads, please let us know.

Related Osocio post: The world’s worst web site hawks “Sweet Norwegian Deals”

Advertiser:
Top Massachusetts Deals (Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation campaign site)
Source:
The Consumerist

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency.
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