Scammers exploit worldwide shortage of Ozempic to defraud consumers


January 03, 2024

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Scammers exploit worldwide shortage of Ozempic to defraud consumers

Digital pit pockets are taking advantage of a worldwide shortage of the extremely popular Type 2 diabetes drug known as Ozempic, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The consumer-oriented organization has been warning of online scams exploiting the scarcity of the prescription drug, which has gained tremendous popularity for its off-label usage in weight loss.

“Scammers are aware of the drug’s popularity for weight loss, and they’re targeting folks looking for a convenient way to purchase it,” the BBB said.

How are people getting scammed?

In its consumer alert, the BBB explains that people looking for online pharmacies with a stock of Ozempic are being directed to platforms claiming to sell the drug at a discount that can save patients a few hundred dollars. Potential customers are asked to pay via mobile payment services and allegedly do not require a prescription for their purchase.

“You may find the website through a web search, an ad, or even a friend’s post on social media,” the BBB explains. “All you must do is make a payment through a digital wallet app like CashApp or Zelle. Many such websites don’t even ask for a prescription before ‘selling’ the drug, but some sites work harder to appear that you are dealing with a legitimate pharmaceutical company.”

Victims of this scam have even reported holding video consults with an alleged doctor before paying for the drug that will never arrive. In other versions of the scam, fraudsters cite shipping issues due to additional fees things such as “insurance” or “discreet shipping.”

“For example, after your initial payment, scammers may insist that you need to pay for insurance or a discreet shipping fee to get the package past customs,” the BBB added. “If you refuse, scammers may resort to threats. For example, they may claim to report the transaction to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and you’ll be held responsible for buying illegal drugs without a prescription.”

How can you protect against prescription drug scams

  • Stick to local pharmacies you know and trust when purchasing medicine and other prescription drugs
  • Never buy prescription-only medications from online sellers or pharmacies that don’t ask for a prescription. It’s illegal. A reputable pharmacy will always ask for a prescription before selling you any medicine. An online pharmacy that asks you only to fill out a questionnaire is likely a scam.
  • Use your common sense. Any high-demand prescription drugs selling for very low prices are likely counterfeit products.
  • Watch out for uncommon payment methods. Never use your digital wallet app or crypto to pay for a prescription. A legitimate online pharmacy will never ask you to pay via prepaid cards, wire funds or online payment apps.
  • Always research new online pharmacies you come across when surfing the web. Check for any consumer reviews and consult your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Report illegal prescription drug sales, suspicious online pharmacies and fraud to the DEA and FTC.
  • Use Bitdefender Scamio, our free AI-powered scam detector, to immediately find out if suspicious emails, texts, links or QR codes are trying to scam you, your family and friends.




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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