The Big Business of Spam: Don’t Click These Links or, “You’re Fired!”

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A new year may have begun, but the big business of spam is still very present. Barracuda Central has recently detected a new spam tactic that uses Donald Trump’s name and image in make-money-quick schemes. Regardless of political or personal views, Donald Trump is a name that most people know. Spammers are very much aware of this, and are using it to their advantage.
Get-rich-quick schemes are not new to the big business of spam, but the tactics to get recipients to read these spam emails are always changing. Specific to these ‘Donald Trump’ messages, spammers are using these angles of enticement:

  • A mainstream name in the media (‘Donald Trump’)
  • Words or phrases similar from actual news conferences (‘You’re Fired!’)
  • An email alias that disguises the spammer as a Trump or a legitimate news source (ex. CNN, see Figure 1)

Figure 1
These tactics are designed to make the spam email seem more legitimate, making the recipient more likely to open the message.

Tactics to look for specific to this scam: First, the subject line: “Donald Trump reveals simple plan to help every American earn more money.” The subject in itself is enticing to the recipient since it uses a mainstream name and the words “earn more money.” Once this message is opened, you will see obvious spammer tactics:

  • Designed to look like it was sent by Trump
  • Uses the CNN logo and similar website formatting
  • Links to “See Trump’s plan for American’s to triple their income…”

Once in the email, if a reader clicks on the links, they are redirected to a false CNN site, (one can look at their browser, to see that they were not directed to CNN, but a falsified site, ex. see Figure 2).

Figure 2

While looking over the false CNN site, you will see tactics continuously used to help prove legitimacy. The site also uses fake statements claiming they are direct quotes from Trump during news conferences. In addition, any link clicked on from the fake CNN site will direct you to “Emily Hudson’s Ultimate Home Profits” (Ulimatehomprofits dot com). claims to be the “#1 choice for an internet career.” This site asks for your information, name, email address, and phone number. Not only is the scammer receiving personal information, but they are also opening the door for many more spam messages to be sent, and even more personal information could be requested. Additionally, Ulimatehomprofits dot com is a known scamming site. (ex. see Figure 3. – http://mastermyfinance dot com slash ultimate-home-profits-review)

Figure 3
Resolution for 2016: Avoid falling prey to get-rich-quick schemes. The best tip to avoid being the victim: Check the sources! Check and double check anything that seems out of the ordinary to you –
  • Investigate who really sent the message
  • Check against the legitimacy of the subject
  • Examine suspicious use of popular names
  • If you have any doubt, Google search key phrases and names or programs that you have not heard of (such as/i.e. “Emily Hudson” and “Ultimate Home Profits” program)

Barracuda Labs has covered quite a few topics related to how scammers are profiting from spam related tactics, to read more in our Big Business of Spam series, check out the following posts:

The Big Business of Spam: What Caitlyn Jenner Uses to Prevent Wrinkles and Stop the Aging Process
The Big Business of Spam: Stay clear of these “too-hot-to-miss” sale opportunities from your Facebook Friends
The Big Business of Spam: Adulterers beware, scammers may be targeting you
The Big Business of Spam: Online Dating Requests Through Email – Not So Fast
The Big Business of Spam: Open Enrollment Signals Open Season for Spammers

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