The Federal Trade Commission charged a Florida-based affiliate marketing operation with bombarding consumers with illegal spam e-mail in an attempt to sell them bogus weight-loss products using false celebrity endorsements.
“These defendants used a variety of deceptive tactics to sell their bogus diet pills,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But we have a clear message for them – we want their illegal practices to stop and we want to give people back the money they took.”
The Feds say part of the scam to push their phony diet products was using celebrity endorsements or making the scam emails look like they just came from a friend of yours.
Marketers Used Massive Spam Campaign To Pitch Bogus Weight-Loss Products
The FTC’s complaint alleges that Colby Fox, Christopher Reinhold and their companies, Tachht, Inc. and Teqqi, LLC, paid for e-mails to be sent to consumers from hacked email accounts, making it appear to consumers that the messages came from their family members, friends, or other contacts. These email messages lured consumers into clicking on links that led to websites deceptively promoting the defendants’ unproven weight-loss products, such as Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean.
The email messages, according to the complaint, were designed to give the impression of a quick note from a friend, often reading:
“Hi! CNN says this is one of the best [link]”
“Hi! Have you already seen it? [link]”
This is just the latest “Bogus News promotions/ Celebrity Endorsement ” cases filed recently the FTC.
The sites also included testimonials from consumers who purportedly had benefitted from the weight-loss products. The false testimonials promised weight loss like “4 lbs/week of belly fat” and “41.7lbs in 2.5 months.” According to the FTC’s complaint, these weight-loss claims are false and lack scientific support.
Spam Emails Linked to “Fake News” Websites, Phony Celebrity Endorsements
The sites also falsely represented that the products for sale had been featured or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey or the hosts of the television show “The Doctors.” These fake news websites then linked to other sites where consumers could purchase the defendants’ weight-loss products.”
The Feds have put out an increasing number of “Friendship Identity” alerts the past few months as scammers increasingly turn to “Social Engineering” to convince you they’re your friends and offer deals that are outright scams.
That’s why cyber-security experts continue to warn about putting too much personal information out in your social media pages. ID thieves comb thru them to try to find ways to rip you off.
Read the original FTC complaint