FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION SCAM ALERT: Fake News Sites Promote Acai Supplements

By  //  November 14, 2017

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ABOVE VIDEO: If you think you see a scam, talk with someone. Your story could help someone avoid that scam. Then report it to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint.

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION – Want to lose weight? Scammers are exploiting people’s trust in well-known news organizations by setting up fake news sites that use the logos of legitimate news organizations.

The sites supposedly report on the effectiveness of acai berry dietary supplements to help people with dramatic weight loss.

But the reporters making big weight loss claims are phony, made up by marketers selling supplements.

And in some cases, once you sign up, you might end up enrolled in an expensive “free trial.”

Sites Created to Sell Acai

More and more, scam artists are exploiting people’s trust in well-known news organizations by creating fake news sites that use the logos of legitimate news organizations or sound-alike names and web addresses. The sites are a front to get you to sign up for weight loss products, work-at-home opportunities, anti-aging products, or debt reduction plans.

One way they do this is to describe a so-called “investigation” into the effectiveness of popular acai berry dietary supplements — supplements from acai palm trees native to Central and South America — to help people lose weight. But the claims the sites make just aren’t true.

What You’re Really Seeing

ABOVE VIDEO: How to stay ahead of the scammers with email updates from the FTC.

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FTC SCAM ALERT: Caller ID Spoofing – Scammers Can Fake Anyone’s Phone Number

Nearly everything about these sites is fake. The websites — owned by marketers — are a tool to entice people to click on links to the sellers’ sites for acai berry supplements. The sellers pay the marketers a commission based on the number of people they lure. There’s no reporter, no investigation, no dramatic weight loss, no satisfied customer who left a comment, and no affiliation with a reputable news source. As a rule, legitimate news organizations do not endorse products.

The reality is:

• Reporter photographs are copied from legitimate news sources
• Images showing weight loss are stock or altered photographs
• The comments are cut and pasted from other fake sites
• The weight loss claims not only are false, but also impossible to achieve in the time frame and way described on the sites

Free Trial Offers

These fake news sites also feature offers to send you a “free trial” of acai berry or “colon cleanse” products for the cost of shipping and handling. Many people have paid more for participation in the so-called free trials, and also for recurring shipments. For more on phony free trials, read “Free” Trial Offers?

How can you tell you might be on a fake site?

• The site displays the logo of a legitimate major television network, newspaper, or magazine, followed by a “reporter’s” first-hand experience using the product
• The reporter claims a dramatic weight loss — like 25 lbs over several weeks — with little or no change in diet or exercise routine
• Throughout the site, you see links to other websites where you can buy the “weight loss” products or sign up for a “free” trial
You see testimonials or comments from supposedly satisfied customers on the site.


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