Scam of the day – October 13, 2017 – FTC sending refunds to victims of “free trial” weight loss scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is mailing 227,000 refund checks to victims of phony weight loss products and supplements sold by Health Formulas LLC and a number of other related companies.  According to the FTC, Health Formulas LLC lured victims with “free trials” and tricked their victims into providing their credit and debit card information.  Health Formulas LLC then enrolled their victims into a program with continuing automatic monthly payments for their bogus weight loss products.

The FTC is administering the refunds through Epiq systems, Inc, which began mailing checks earlier this week.  The checks must be cashed within 60 days and there is no fee or charge to obtain the refunds.

TIPS

For more information about this refund program go to the tab at the top of this page entitled “FTC Scam Refunds.”  You can also call the refund administrator directly at 800-690-2366 if you have questions about the refund program.

As for weight loss products, the truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

Finally, there never is a reason to provide your credit or debit card information for a “free” offer.

Scam of the day – September 4, 2017 – More checks being sent to victims of Kevin Trudeau

Last June, I told you about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  sending 6.3 million dollars in refunds to people who were scammed into buying Kevin Trudeau’s book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”  The book was sold through infomercials that touted it as a simple and effective plan that would enable you to lose dramatic amounts of weight while still eating whatever foods you wanted.  The truth is that the diet was a far from simple starvation diet that also required daily injections of difficult to obtain prescription drugs.  Although Trudeau was ordered to repay cheated consumers millions of dollars in 2009, it was not until a court-appointed receiver was able to locate significant money hidden by Trudeau that money just became available to partially compensate consumers for their losses.   Last June I told you that if more of Trudeau’s funds were to be located,  further payments would be made by the FTC in the future, as well and that is what has happened.  The FTC is now sending out a second round of checks to the victims of Trudeau’s scam.  If you were someone who bought this book, go to the tab at the top of this page designated “FTC Scam Refunds” for more information about getting and cashing your refund check.

TIPS

The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

Scam of the day – June 10, 2017 – FTC sending more refund checks regarding weight loss supplements

In June of 2016 I reported to you that the FTC had settled a lawsuit with Genesis Today, Pure Health and Lindsey Duncan regarding false and misleading claims that they made about their green coffee bean extract weight loss products.  I first reported to you about this FTC action in the Scam of the Day for January 27, 2015.    Duncan and his companies claimed green coffee bean extracts would enable users to lose 17 pounds and 16% of their body fat in 12 weeks without diet or exercise.  Duncan also referred to a severely flawed clinical study which he claimed supported his claims.  Helping his sales of the weight loss product were his television appearances on legitimate shows such as The View and The Dr. Oz Show.  Dr. Oz received much criticism while testifying before Congress regarding the recommending of green coffee bean extracts for weight loss on his show.    In 2016 the FTC mailed checks to people who bought the supplements online and for whom the FTC had addresses.  Now the FTC is mailing 38,533  more refund checks totaling 1.9 million dollars to victims of the scam who bought the supplements from retailers such as Walmart.   If you bought the supplements at a retail store, you can apply for a refund by going to the tab at the top of the page designated “FTC Scam Refunds” for the forms you need.

TIPS

The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

If you bought the supplements at a retail store, you can get information about the refunds by going to the tab at the top of the page designated “FTC Scam Refunds.”

Scam of the day – April 24, 2017 – FTC shuts down NutriMost Ultimate Fat loss System

The FTC settled deceptive marketing claims against the companies selling the NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss System, which since 2012 had claimed it had used new technology that would enable people using the system to lose forty pounds or more in forty days.  Unfortunately, there was no scientific support for these representations.  Customers were also not told until it was too late that the system required them to follow a very restrictive diet of less than 500 calories per day.  Under the terms of the settlement, which is filed with the Federal Court for Western Pennsylvania, the defendants are required to refund two million dollars to defrauded consumers.  I will continue to follow this story and as more information becomes available as to how to claim a refund if you were a victim of this scam, I will let you know.

TIPS

The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly, particularly those that claim to be able to do this without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action if you are seeking to lose weight is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

Scam of the day – March 22, 2017 – FTC shuts down fraudulent weight loss scam

The FTC has settled a claim against scammers who were marketing worthless weight loss products through illegal spam emails and phony celebrity endorsements.  The scammers hacked into email accounts of unwary victims and used those email accounts to send out spam emails to people on the contact list of the hacked accounts with links purporting to be to an interesting news story.  Many people receiving these emails fell for the scam because they believed the email was coming from a trusted source.

The links led to websites that touted worthless weight loss products such as Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean.  The websites also contained false claims of weight loss such as 17 pounds in 4 weeks or 41.7 pounds in 2.5 months.  The websites also falsely represented that the products were featured or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey or the hosts of “The Doctors” television show.

TIPS

Whenever you receive an email purporting to be from a friend with a short note instructing you to click on a link to some important story, you should immediately be skeptical.  Often the emails seem out of character with the person who appears to be sending you the email which is because often their emails have been hacked and used to send out spam emails such as this.  If you get such an email and it is spam, you should let your friend know that their email account has been hacked.

Never click on links in emails unless you have verified that they are legitimate.  While in this particular case, clicking on the link would only take you to a phony website, often clicking on links such as this can download ransomware or keystroke logging malware that will enable a hacker to steal your personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

As for weight loss products, you should always do your research and check with your primary care physician before considering buying any product promising to help you lose weight easily.

Scam of the day – June 23, 2016 – FTC refunds money to victims of weight loss scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending 6.3 million dollars in refunds to people who were scammed into buying Kevin Trudeau’s book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”  The book was sold through infomercials that touted it as a simple and effective plan that would enable you to lose dramatic amounts of weight while still eating whatever foods you wanted.  The truth was that the diet was a far from simple starvation diet that also required daily injections of difficult to obtain prescription drugs.  Although Trudeau was ordered to repay cheated consumers millions of dollars in 2009, it was not until a court-appointed receiver was able to locate significant money hidden by Trudeau that money just became available to partially compensate consumers for their losses.  If more of Trudeau’s funds are located, payments will be made by the FTC in the future, as well.  If you were someone who bought this book, go to the tab at the top of this page designated “FTC Scam Refunds” for more information about getting and cashing your refund check.

In addition, The FTC has also settled a lawsuit with Genesis Today, Pure Health and Lindsey Duncan about false and misleading claims that they made about their weight loss products containing green coffee bean extract.  I first reported to you about this FTC action in the Scam of the Day for January 27, 2015.    Duncan and his companies claimed  green coffee bean extracts would enable users to lose 17 pounds and 16% of their body fat in 12 weeks without diet or exercise.  Duncan also referred to a severely flawed clinical study which he claimed supported his claims.  Helping his sales of the weight loss product were his television appearances on legitimate shows such as The View and The Dr. Oz Show.  Dr. Oz received much criticism while testifying before Congress recently regarding the recommending of green coffee bean extracts for weight loss on his show.    The FTC is mailing checks to people who bought the supplements online and for whom the FTC has an address.  If you bought the supplements at a retail store, you can apply for a refund by going to the tab at the top of the page designated “FTC Scam Refunds” for the forms you need.

TIPS

The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

Scam of the day – June 2, 2015 – FTC shuts down Cactus Juice scam

Almost a year after settling charges against TriVita, Inc. the maker of a cactus-based fruit drink called Nopalea for misleading advertising of the drink, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is supervising the refund of almost three million dollars to customers who paid up to $39.99 for 32 ounce bottles of Nopalea, which, in infomercials and print advertisements, the maker touted as an anti-inflammatory wellness drink that would relieve pain, reduce joint and muscle swelling, improve breathing, alleviate respiratory problems and relieve skin conditions.  TriVita also employed former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs as a spokesperson.  The infomercials also featured testimonials by satisfied customers, who were actually TriVita employees.  In fact the representations for the product were without scientific evidence.  The FTC hired Gilardi & Co. to make the refunds.

TIPS

If you were a purchaser of Nopalea, you can expect a refund.  You also might want to contact Gilardi & Co. to confirm that you will be receiving a refund.  You can call them at 888-289-0252.  You can also go to the FTC’s special website for information about the FTC’s refund program for this product and many other products to see if you may have a refund coming to you.  Their website is https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds

As for any product that promises extraordinary health benefits, it is always important to be a bit skeptical.  Merely because the product is advertised on television or in other media that you may trust does not mean that the product is legitimate.  Always investigate any health or weight loss product and consult with your physician before buying such products and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is just that.

Scam of the day – January 27, 2015 – Green coffee bean weight loss scam

Lindsey Duncan and his companies, Pure Health LLC and Genesis Today, Inc have agreed to a 9 million dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding phony weight loss claims made by Duncan and his companies about green coffee bean extracts, which Duncan claimed would enable users to lose 17 pounds and 16% of their body fat in 12 weeks without diet or exercise.  Duncan also touted a severely flawed clinical study which he claimed supported his claims.  Helping his sales of the weight loss product were his television appearances on legitimate shows such as The View and The Dr. Oz Show.  Dr. Oz received much criticism while testifying before Congress recently regarding the recommending of green coffee bean extracts for weight loss on his show.

TIPS

The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise.  You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements.  It is also important to remember that no cream that you rub in your skin can help you lose substantial weight and no product can block the absorption of fat or calories.  The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.

Scam of the day – June 20, 2014 – Dr. Oz and weight loss scams

Dr. Mehmet Oz is one of America’s most trusted physicians whose syndicated television show is seen by more than three million people daily, which is why it was disappointing to watch his testimony earlier this week before the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection regarding weight loss scams.  Americans spend 2.4 billion dollars on weight loss programs each year and, unfortunately, many of those dollars are wasted on scams.  Senator Claire McCaskill took Dr. Oz to task during the hearings in particular for describing particular supplements of questionable efficacy as “magic weight loss cures” and “the number one miracle in a bottle.”  One of the supplements touted by Dr. Oz was Pure Green Coffee beans which its makers claim enabled users to lose twenty pounds in four weeks and 16% of body fat in three months.  The Federal Trade Commission is presently suing the makers of Pure Green Coffee beans for false advertising.

TIPS

Although the FTC is doing a good job in trying to crack down on the makers of phony weight loss products, it is an impossible task to accomplish because there are just so many companies peddling phony weight loss products.  Ultimately, the best place to look for a helping hand when it comes to avoiding weight-loss scams is at the end of your own arm.  Merely because you see an advertisement on a television show or a website that you know is legitimate does not mean that the particular weight loss product is legitimate.  Be skeptical.  The Federal Trade Commission came up with what they call seven “gut check” claims that should make you wary.  They are:

1.  causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercising; 2.  causes substantial weight loss o matter what or how much you eat;              3.  causes permanent weight loss even after you stop using the product; 4. blocks the absorption of fat or calories 5. safely enable you to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks; 6. causes substantial weight loss for all users; 7. causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product or rubbing it on your skin.