FTC slashes weight loss scam scheme

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.

FTC Halts Deceptive Marketing of Bogus Weight-Loss Products | Federal Trade Commission.

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.
consumerist fake diet ads

  3 comments for “FTC slashes weight loss scam scheme

  1. Rook
    May 5, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    One should be highly suspicious of any info that arrives in the form of spam email, be it diet pills, hot stock tips, business offers, or whatever. I rarely ever bother researching the legimacy or accuracy of spam content that shows up in my inbox.

  2. May 5, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    You would think that people would know that by now but there is a ridiculous number of people who haven’t learned that lesson yet. They also buy a lot of scratch-off lottery tickets.

  3. ChristineRose
    May 5, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    One rarely understood fact is that most 21st century spammers are not making any money. They are buying a “business startup kit” and a “customized website” and a “payment processing service” and an “e-mail contact list” and their income will never equal those expenses. The hot stock tip guys are hoping to appeal to other potential stock cheaters. All imagine that they will get out of the stock before just before all those non-existent suckers who actually thought the stock was worth something. Ironically the 411 guys may the smartest of the lot. They make their pitches crazy so as to weed out all but the most vulnerable.

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