Ozempic Craze Produces New Target For Cybercriminals

Kaspersky experts have discovered a concerning trend with legitimate-looking phishing pages offering the famed weight-loss drug to consumers fighting the ‘battle of the bulge’. Diabetes medication Ozempic was found to have weight-loss and appetite-suppressing properties, prompting celebrities and, consequently, the public to buy the drug, sparking a craze. This celebrity endorsement incited droves of hopeful Weight Watchers to buy the drug, leading to a 58% growth of year-on-year sales… and a corresponding price increase.

But drug companies are not the only ones profiting from Ozempic’s popularity. Kaspersky experts have discovered a number of phishing scams aimed at people hoping to lose weight quickly like their favourite celebrities but unable to pay the increasingly steep price. Scammers created fake websites offering low-cost Ozempic that prompt unsuspecting victims to fill out a form, providing personal data including name, address, and banking information. The web pages are difficult to distinguish from most shopping websites so they can easily trap their prey.

In addition to Ozempic sales, some of such resources offered to install a phone application that would help track the progress.

Unsuspecting shoppers fooled by the scam are likely to lose money, paying for a fake product or nothing at all. And, more concerningly, they may accidentally give up their name, address, banking information and other sensitive data to an unscrupulous criminal.

Scammers are quickly adapting to social and cultural trends to ensnare helpless victims seeking alternative means of joining the latest fad, be it Barbenheimer tickets, Mortal Kombat games, or cheap holidays. In 2023, Kaspersky’s anti-phishing system thwarted over 709 million attempts to access phishing and scam websites, marking a 40 percent increase compared to the previous year.

“We have discovered a concerning trend of fraudulent phishing pages designed to mimic legitimate Ozempic offers, resulting in unsuspecting users falling victim to financial losses and data breaches. We believe that shedding light on this issue is crucial to safeguarding the well-being and security of consumers, particularly during awards season when many celebrities expected to show up to events like the Oscars having recently lost weight due to Ozempic. It’s crucial to emphasize that purchasing such treatment should only be done through authentic pharmaceutical channels and with a doctor’s prescription,” said Olga Svistunova, a security expert from Kaspersky.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, Kaspersky experts recommend the following:

  • Only get medication upon the recommendation of a licensed physician or pharmacist and use only recommended and approved drugs.
  • Think twice before clicking on an offer – when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Don’t open emails or click links unless you are sure you can trust the sender.
  • When a sender is legitimate, but the content of the message seems strange, it is worth checking with the sender using alternative means of communication.
  • Prior to interacting with a website, conduct a Google search of its name, scrutinize reviews, and verify the creation date via WHOIS services. Exercise caution if the domain appears to be recently registered.
  • Use a proven security solutionsuch as Kaspersky Premium when surfing the web. Thanks to access to international threat intelligence sources, these solutions are capable of spotting and blocking spam and phishing campaigns.