Woman Who Bought Ozempic Online Finds It Was Fake

Montreal, CA - 25 November 2023: Hand holding Ozempic semaglutide injection pen. Ozempic is a medication for obesity

A woman with diabetes who fell prey to a potentially deadly fraud after purchasing Ozempic online owing to a medicine shortage has spoken out. When 26-year-old Lexi Ortanez received the merchandise, she knew something was wrong because the seller claimed to have ties to the medical field. The container was fragile, and the pen didn’t resemble the one she’d been injecting herself with before. This was a change that could have proved lethal.

Internet security firm McAfee has detected 449 malicious websites promoting fake items and 176,871 phishing emails this year. With the skyrocketing demand for Ozempic and Wegovy, fraudsters are utilizing various tactics to extract money from people, including stealing patient data. 

There are hundreds of fraudsters selling inexpensive obesity medications without a prescription; some of these pills are even cheaper when paid for using cryptocurrencies. 

In addition to phishing emails and fake websites, thieves are spreading weight loss therapy scams on prominent platforms such as Craigslist and Facebook. Some con artists have gone to great lengths to deceive Facebook Marketplace users into thinking they are selling surplus stock or foreign alternatives to Ozempic that do not require prescriptions in order to promote low prices on prescription pharmaceuticals. Anyone may discover the shots for sale on the social media site; they range from zero dollars to five hundred dollars for a month’s supply.

In addition to advertising phony medication, unscrupulous bad actors advertise on Craigslist that individuals are being paid to participate in Ozempic research. They pull them in and then scam them.

Victims are “more susceptible” to website-based weight reduction scams, according to McAfee researchers, who found 207 Ozempic frauds posted on the classified ads site within 24 hours in April.

According to Abhishek Karnik, head of threat research at McAfee, people may encounter these frauds when they type keywords like “weight loss solutions” into social networking platforms or messaging applications.

Victims are lied to by seemingly positive user evaluations, which he called “fabricated.”

Falling for one of these scams can significantly affect the finances, health, and wellness of victims, with cash losses ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per transaction. 

Cybercriminals pose a threat to victims because they may steal sensitive information, including health records, which can lead to further fraud and identity theft.