URL Shortener Scam
URL Shortener Scam: How It Works
While there are no shortages of work-at-home websites online, all promising an endless array of simple work and the guarantee of making “$1000 per day working part-time from home!” We all know that there is no such thing as getting something for nothing, and anyone earning $1,000 per day is working hard to earn that money.
But more disturbing is the recent news that spammers are abusing URL shortener services to fool people into believing they are sending these types of messages from government servers.
All government websites with the domain name 1.usa.gov are vulnerable to this scam. The reason? These sites are the result of a partnership between the US Government's official web portal and the Bitly URL shortener service. When anyone uses Bitly.com to shorten URL's that end in .gov or .mil the service will generate short URL under the 1.usa.gov domain.
These short URL's will then take the user to another website that is not an “official” government page but still supposedly legitimately endorsed by the government's web portal. Scammers have been able to breach the service by taking advantage of open redirect scripts found on some .gov websites. These redirect scripts are used by the website's owner to track clicks to third-party URLs listed on their websites as well as to display the “navigating away from this website” message.
When these scripts are left open to any destination, scammers use them to set up bogus websites that appear to be financial news websites. Once the victim links to the website, they have the option to click on another website regarding work-from-home opportunities; these websites contain “jobs” that require you to pay a fee to get a kit or some information about jobs available if you have the internet. These are not legitimate jobs and there will be no return on your investment.
URL Shortener Scam: How To Avoid
Always be careful of navigating away from a secured website to one that is unsecured. Legitimate websites give you this warning that you are leaving their site for that very reason. If you are redirected to another site be wary of clicking on any links that will then take you to another site. And as always, remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.