The FTC charged the group Sale Slash for violating the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM Act. They used spam emails and banner ads to fake news sites that were designed to look like a genuine endorsement. It was also alleged that they used unauthorized celebrity endorsements, such as Oprah Winfrey, and made false claims to promote diet products.
The Federal Trade Commission has obtained a court order temporarily halting a Glendale, California, operation that allegedly used millions of illegal spam emails, along with false weight-loss claims and fake, unauthorized endorsements from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, to market its unproven diet pills.
The court order halts the defendants’ illegal conduct, freezes their assets, and appoints a temporary receiver over the corporate defendants. The Commission ultimately is seeking to recover money from the defendants that would be used to provide refunds to consumers who bought the defendants’ diet pills.
“Sale Slash is a fraud trifecta,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The company made outlandish weight-loss claims for its diet pills using fake news sites, phony celebrity endorsements, and millions of unwanted spam emails.”
We’ve all seen these ads that look like news reports or genuine endorsement. “1 Tip for a tiny belly,” “Cut down on a bit of your belly every day following this 1 old weird tip,” and “Garcinia Cambogia Exposed – Miracle Diet or Scam?” They are ubiquitous on web sites and they are advertisements, not valid info.
Even Dr. Oz gets pissed about those who use his name (even though he’s endorsed these compounds on his show.) The weight loss supplements that were allegedly advertised illegally by Sale Slash include Premium Green Coffee, Pure Garcinia Cambogia, Premium White Kidney Bean Extract, Pure Forskolin Extract, and Pure Caralluma Fimbriata Extract. Pure? More like pure nonsense. None of these products have been shown to be safe, effective weight loss supplements in controlled tests, they are not recommended by (non-celebrity) doctors, and how do we know they are “pure”? They aren’t under regulations to be regularly tested.
The other scammy tactic included using stolen email lists to send the users messages that looked like they came from a known contact.
The FTC is looking to recoup some money to refund consumers. Good! But, hey, consumers, get wise – there is no quick diet trick.
And maybe use a browser ad blocker.
The Consumerist site took a screen shot of the questionable ads. It’s obvious that some readers may miss the clues that these are made to look like news reports.