(Los Angeles, CA) – Scambook, the leading online complaint resolution platform, has received hundreds of complaints about diet products linked to fake news sites and deceptive advertising. Two main products, HCG Ultra Drops and Raspberry Ultra Drops, have been the focus of more than 400 complaints on Scambook.
“Hundreds of Scambook users reported these weight loss products hacking their Facebook and email accounts with a link to pages promoting HCG Ultra Drops and Raspberry Ultra Drops. These pages mimicked legitimate news sites, exploiting the fact that consumers are more likely to believe a trusted news source than an ad,” says Kase Chong, the Director of Marketing at Scambook.
Another diet product, Acai UltraBerry, was recently shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly using the same marketing tactics. Beony International, the affiliate marketing network behind these schemes, is now forced to discontinue their deceptive online advertising as well as pay a $1.6 million settlement.
The FTC said, *”The sites often falsely represented that the reports they carried had been seen on major media outlets such as ABC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and Consumer Reports. Investigative-sounding headlines presented stories that purported to document a reporter’s first-hand experiences with acai berry supplements – typically claiming to have lost 25 pounds in four weeks, according to the FTC complaints.”
In a recent press release, the FTC announced that they have “permanently [stopped the] fake news website operator that allegedly deceived consumers about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products.”
Additional Brands Affected by FTC Settlement
The FTC named over two-dozen affiliated products** falsely marketed with fake news sites. Scambook wants consumers to be aware of the following products’ allegedly deceptive marketing schemes:
Acai Berry and Other ‘Diet’ Pills: Acai Optimum, Acai Ultra Lean, LeanSpa Acai, LeanSpa with Pure HCA, Ultraberry Slim, TrimSport Acai, Super Acai 1200, Acai Ultraberry
Colon Cleansers: Advanced Cleanse, Advanced Colon, Fibra Detox, Nature Detox, South Beach Java, LeanSpa Cleanse, ColoThin, PureCleanse 360, Complex Cleanse
Teeth Whiteners: Brite White Smile, Glamour Smile, Pür Whitening Tray Kit, Vibrant Smile Pen, Ortho White, Bella Brite
Work-At-Home Programs: Robert Allen’s Multiple Streams of Income Course, Home Income Profit System, Home Income Wealth System
Surplus Auctions: Swipe Bids
More Fake News Sites May Still Be Out There
Although Acai UltraBerry affiliated products are being shut down, there is no indication at this time that HCG Ultra Drops or Raspberry Ultra Drops will be directly affected by the FTC’s settlement. Other fake news sites will continue to appear and deceive consumers about these products.
Scambook offers four tips to help consumers spot advertisements disguised as news sources:
- What’s the domain? Check to see if the URL is the proper domain for the news outlet it is claiming to represent. Any long or randomized URLs are signs it is a hoax.
- Links on the page don’t work, and if they do, they send you to the product order form. A legitimate news site will have links to other articles as well as real user comments.
- The news page uses too many stock images and graphics of the product. Perform a side-by-side comparison of the official news site and the suspect page in separate browsers to spot differences in their layouts.
- Are the claims too good to be true? Finally, think about whether the claims in the “article” are realistic. As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $9 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.
*John C. Hallerud; “FTC Permanently Stops Fake News Website Operator that Allegedly Deceived Consumers about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products”; http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/02/beony.shtm 02/19/2013