Massachusetts Creates Fake Scam Websites To Warn People Of Real Scam Websites

Make a ton of money working from home! Lose weight by taking some fruit extract pills! Clear your debt today, guaranteed! Most of us know to give a wide berth to websites making promises like these. But the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has decided the best way to educate the consumers is for the state to create its own slate of bogus sites that look eerily like real scam sites.

The repository for these pages, at topmassachusettsdeals.com, itself sounds a bit like something scammy. But that’s where you can find pages for products and services like Flabkiller, Envelope Elf, and ModExperts.

Clicking on any of the links on these bogus scam pages will take readers to a page providing more information on how to identify and avoid similar ruses.

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

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I actually like this. Now people who fall for scams will realize see what an internet scam looks like and at least get the reprieve of a warning rather than being a victim.

    After that, fool me twice, shame on me! If this doesn’t help them figure it out, they are beyond help.

  2. FatLynn says:

    This seems like a really good idea, because I bet it will “catch” a lot of people who think they are too smart to fall for things like this.

  3. Preyfar says:

    All it’s missing is “use this one simple trick to…” and “doctors are baffled by miracle cure for _____ simple housewife discovers!”

    Those piss me off. Seems like every local “news” site is chock to the freakin’ brim with those text ads. Yes, use this one simple trick to make that crap ninja vanish. AD BLOCK!

    • JennQPublic says:

      The “Housewife from *my town* discovers miracle cure for aging!” ads always creep me out, because their use of my IP to find my location reminds me that I’m not truly anonymous on the web. I started using Tor sometimes because I’m not comfortable with how much data various scammy companies have about ‘me’ that they can later aggregate. They can compare notes about what we’ve been reading and shopping for, and tailor scams to better target us. Although at the end of the day, what’s the difference between scams and ads?

      • Preyfar says:

        I really don’t mind legitimate ads – especially if they’re marketing things I’m interested in, but ONLY when they provide me something I want.

        I draw the line at pop-ups, ads that instantly play audio/video or ads that use icons of friends/family to market shit to me. That’s just creepy.

        • JennQPublic says:

          I don’t mind that when I’ve been shopping for shoes, Zappos ads show up displaying shoes just like the ones I’m looking for. But I know that all of the data being collected on me now could be aggregated and identified as me at some point in the future, because all of that data will always be out there.

          It’s not that I look at anything I need to keep ‘secret’, it’s just that having so much information about me out there makes me feel like a picture of me is being painted without my permission or input, and that it can be passed around as ‘me’ at some future point by unknown parties- some of which are known scammers.

          I don’t actually think it ever will, but it creeps me out. I’ve probably just read too many sci-fi books set in dystopian futures.

    • psm321 says:

      what about the one “weird” trick?

  4. Marlin says:

    I did kinda the same thing to my grandmother. I got her set up for internet and sent her an e-mail saying I was AOL customer support etc… and need your SS#, Birth,. credit card, etc… e-mailed to me.

    She stood up and started to walk to her bedroom and told me I’ll right back; I need to get my CC…
    With that I was able to show her what NOT to do and if in doubt call me. My 8X grandmother was never scammed and never had her CC number ripped off.

    • belsonc says:

      My parents aren’t all that tech savvy. I finally got my dad to be willing to install updates to certain programs (“If you’ve heard of the company, then it’ll be ok” after the 6th time asking me if he can install an update to Acrobat Reader) after a couple of years. And the first time my mother got a phishing email, I told her NEVER respond to one of those. It won’t be legit. And if it is, and they end up cutting off your service, etc, then I’ll pay any costs with getting everything right again because all they did was follow my advice.

  5. mbgrabbe says:

    Those websites must have been fun to make :-)

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Yeah, … someone doing the development and layout work for their side business while having an excuse to do it on their day job.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “Massachusetts Creates Fake Scam Websites To Warn People Of Real Scam Websites”

    It’s not a scam, I lost 50 pounds drinking Acai berry juice while making $15,000 dollars a month in my spare time. These pictures of hot blonds, olympic sized swimming pools and red Ferraris is proof. PROOF I TELL YOU!!!

    Ohh, I forgot the palm trees.

  7. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    So are they sending out millions of fake spam emails to get people to the fake sites?

    • Anathema777 says:

      Where does it say that they’re sending these links in spam?

      • Preyfar says:

        I think it’s more of a “if they’re not, how are people going to find the sites to learn their lesson”?

        • Anathema777 says:

          Ah, I went back and re-read the comment — I misread it the first time as “So, they are…” instead of “So are they…”.

        • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

          I was thinking the same thing… They’ll probably advertise them on their own Government pages, or maybe local news pages. Though it seems like local news pages are the biggest beneficiaries of these fraudvertisers, so they might not want people to stop being scammed.

  8. Nighthawke says:

    And now watch the sucker email them complaining why they haven’t received their order yet.

  9. framitz says:

    So, now they can look forward to fake fake scam sites providing scams instead of education. Should be hilarious.

  10. DJ Charlie says:

    Good idea, but it’ll get buried in the search results and never be seen.

  11. Amp says:

    I predict a series of emails will go to the webmaster, complaining that the signup pages aren’t working.

    “Shut up and take my money!”

  12. Torchwood says:

    So, with a name like “Envelope Elf”, you would expect a picture of a elf holding lots of envelopes. Where is here? I feel…. .SCAMMED!!!!!