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Thread: Fake Online Advertising

  1. #1
    shipdit's Avatar
    shipdit is offline Senior Scambuster
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    Fake Online Advertising

    .
    We've all seen bogus advertisements hijacking celebrity names and claiming to be endorsed by them, but it's really getting ridiculous.

    Check out this ad for a likely worthless skin-care product called "Nouveau Restor":

    Mark Zuckerberg Disgusted With Social Media; Set To Leave Facebook Later This Year

    Other than "world-health-news.org" having been anonymously registered 2017-04-11, the page treats you to a ridiculous fabricated story about Mark Zuckerberg's wife Priscilla Chan accidentally discovering a miraculous "fountain of youth" skin-care product (Nouveau Restor) while pursuing a "cure for disease".

    Not stopping at just that outrageous lie, the page includes supposed quotes from both Mark and Priscilla, ringing celebrity endorsements from Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Savannah Guthrie and at the very bottom of the page 25 positive chatty comments made to appear they are from legitimate Facebook users by "borrowing" real Facebook users name and profile photos.

    The same shitty company that assumes the celebrities won't waste their resources to sue them for everything they've got (only to find out that they're a fly-by-night, pissant company with virtually no recoverable assets) use the same bullshit template to market a wide variety of other dubious "products", like Bill Gates, Denzel Washington, Stephen Hawking, Bill O'Reilly enthusiastically praising a worthless "brainpower enhancer" called Accelleral.

    I lean strongly Libertarian in most issues of government intervention into our lives, but I frequently feel like there would be an almost complete elimination of cyber crime if it was made impossible to access the internet without leaving a traceable path back to the user.

    SD

    .
    "No one in this world, so far as I know - and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me - has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people" - H. L. Mencken

  2. #2
    littleroundman is offline Administrator
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    Great find, Shipdit.

    A worthless product, fake testimonials AND they end up with your name, address and credit card details.

    What's not to like ???

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

  3. #3
    EagleOne's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    When I saw the title of thread I thought this was going to be about TM, MAP/TAP, FutureNet/FutureAedPro, and USI-TECH. all in one thread. Was surprised when it wasn't, but this is just as fake as the ones I mentioned. I'm surprised that Faith Sloan and Ken Russo aren't pimping this. God knows that Faith could use the product.
    EagleOne
    Founder/President Eagle Research Associates
    http://eagleresearchassociates.org
    Author: "Robbing You With A Keyboard Instead Of A Gun - Cyber Crime How They Do It" available in soft cover and eBook at Amazon.com
    Lifetime Member of the National Association of Distinguished Professionals

  4. #4
    littleroundman is offline Administrator
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    Quote Originally Posted by EagleOne
    God knows that Faith could use the product.
    Ouch, that's harsh.

    True.

    But harsh
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

  5. #5
    shipdit's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    .
    They're still at it with the same script for their fraudulent web page, but as for a follow-up on the "Nouveau Restor" that was being hawked in December:

    The "buy now" click-through to "Free Sample Of Nouveau Restor" now leads to a "404".

    RipOffReport has a testimonial from someone who took the bait:

    "I purchased a free trial size nouveau skin cream and eye serum for only S&H on both products. Which were $4.94 on the skin cream and $4.97 on the eye serum. I ordered these on 5/11/17. I received them on 6/1/17. When I checked my bank account today 6/8/17, I found 2 charges on my bank account for a total of $174.91 for the skin care and eye serum. When I called the company to find out what these charges were for, agent 017 (Kelly) said it was for my subscription for the 2 products. I said I just wanted the trial size. Agent 017 said they do not send out trial sizes. They send a full month's supply and you are suppose to cancel your subscription 14 days after you order it. But none of this information was on anything I read. I ask about returning it, seeing as how I had only had it 5 days, but no, it was pass this 14 days. All I could get done was them to cancel any more subscriptions. One hard lesson to learn. Cost me $174.91 out of my disability check of $717.00, I just hope they don't charge anymore to my debit card"

    Six months later ...

    This time it's "Instant Elixir" and they are claiming celebrity endorsements from Barbara Walters, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Sherri Shepherd and Meredith Vieira.

    Same bogus Facebook comments from a fake "Facebook social plugin" at the bottom of the page.

    Calling or writing the company would be a waste of time. The Better Business Bureau (85 complaints) has already tried to get a response from them concerning deceptive advertising with no luck.

    What I find most interesting is that follow-up visits to the above page (then clicking the buy button) take me to a page with a different cream product and the name of a different company when you look under the "terms and conditions" link.

    First time around it was Instant Elixir at a "Pack-n-Post" mail-drop address in Greensboro, North Carolina:

    1852 Banking St #9291, Greensboro, NC 27408

    This time it is "Instantly Vivid" cream with this contact information:

    by post at: Instantlyvivid, 2941 battleground ave STE# 39282, Greensboro NC 27408, USA.

    by e-mail at: support@instantlyvivid.freshdesk.com

    by phone at: 18554123144 for US Customers

    Yep - "Instantly Vivid" already has a reputation at the BBB also.

    My guess is that a single company uses the same script/template to drive customers to a variety of worthless products and just adds a "new" product from a "different" company on a new landing page if they catch any flak.

    Snopes has looked into this negative-option/fake endorsements trend.

    Why hasn't the Federal Trade Commission moved to shut these con artists down?

    SD

    .
    "No one in this world, so far as I know - and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me - has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people" - H. L. Mencken

  6. #6
    KammieD is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    I've seen this before in Canada. Not only do they use the same copy-pasted layout, but they also steal layouts and logos from trustworthy sites, hoping nobody will look at the URL bar.

  7. #7
    shipdit's Avatar
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    Re: Fake Online Advertising

    .
    The Better Business Bureau released the most comprehensive article yet about fake celebrity endorsement/auto-ship trap/crap product schemes December 12th:

    Subscription Traps and Deceptive Free Trials Scam Millions with Misleading Ads and Fake Celebrity Endorsements

    An associated article lists some of the recent prosecutions of these scammers by the FTC:

    Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals: Filed in 2006, settled in July 2009. Case involved the Enzyte male enhancement pill, with TV commercials featuring “Smiling Bob.” Judgment of $44.9 million.

    Grant Connect/Kimoto: Filed in 2009, won in court and resolved 2013. Case involved free trials of government grant programs using photos of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Judgment of $29.8 million.

    Commerce Planet: Filed 2009, won in court 2016. Case involved an online auction kit. Victims were told they could get a free trial by simply paying shipping and handling. FTC won in court and on appeal. Judgement of $19.7 million.

    Central Coast Nutraceuticals: Filed 2010, settled 2013. Case Involved free trials of diet and colon cleansing pills. Claimed endorsements by Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray. Judgment of $80 million.

    Iworks: Filed 2010, settled 2017. Case involved free trial offers of government grants and money making opportunities. Judgment of $280.9 million.

    Jesse Wilms: Filed in 2011, resolved 2012. This case involved a Canadian company that offered free trials of weight loss pills, tooth whiteners and other products. Claimed endorsements by Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray. Subject of an article in the Atlantic. Judgement of $359 million.

    Leanspa: Filed in 2011, settled 2016. Connecticut Attorney General co-plaintiff. Case involved free trials for weight loss and colon cleansing pills. Judgment of $32.7 million.

    Health Formulas: Filed 2014, settled 2017. Case Involved free trials of weight loss, male enhancement and skin care products. Judgment of $105 million.

    AuraVie: Filed 2015, settled 2018. Case involved free trials of skincare products. Falsely claimed an A+ rating with BBB. Judgment of $72.7 million.

    NutraClick: Filed and settled 2016. Case involved free trials of nutritional supplements and beauty products. Company made refunds of $56 million after being sued and also paid $350,000 judgment.

    Credit Bureau Center: Filed 2017, won in court 2018. Case involved promises of free credit reports but enrolled victims in a continuity plan and kept charging for the service. Judgment of $5.2 million.

    XXL: Filed 2017, settled in 2018. FTC with the Maine Attorney General. Case involved memory improvement pills, and joint and back pain pills. Judgment of $6.57 million.

    AAFE: Filed as a settlement in 2017. Case Involved free trial offers for cooking gadgets, golf equipment and online subscriptions. Judgement of $2.5 million.

    RevGo: Filed in 2017, settled 2018. Case involved free trials of tooth whiteners and other products. Judgment of $92 million.

    Tarr: Filed and resolved in 2017. Case involved free trials for more than 40 weight loss, muscle building, wrinkle reduction products. Claimed endorsement by Will Ferrell, Dr. Oz and Jennifer Anniston. Judgment of $179 million.

    Triangle: Filed in 2018. Case Involved free trials for skin creams, electronic cigarettes and other products. Claimed 93% of sales were outside the United States. Case being appealed to the 9th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals. FTC alleges sales were in excess of $30 million.

    Apex Capital: Filed November 2018 and now in court. Case involves free trials for personal care products and dietary supplements that they claim will promote weight loss, hair growth, clear skin, muscle development, sexual performance, and cognitive abilities. FTC alleged sales were in excess of $22 million.

    SD

    .
    "No one in this world, so far as I know - and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me - has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people" - H. L. Mencken

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