Home Debunking The Myths How To Identify A Weight Loss Scam Website

How To Identify A Weight Loss Scam Website

by Erika Nicole Kendall

So, I was just strolling along, minding my business, avoiding all the Halloween-y tricks and treats du jour, when I thought to myself, “Self, if I were to come upon a website promoting a weight loss product, how would I know whether or not it was a scam?” And, with that thought, I went hunting. Looking for clues that would lead me to conclude that a website was, in fact, a scam. Before too much time could pass, the hunter found her prey.

So. How do I know this website’s a scam? Well, here’s my first giveaway:

when you find yourself on the page praising a product you’ve never used in your entire life.

If my picture is on this page and I never authorized it, then chances are high that neither “Moesha” nor “Veneshia” nor “Coleen” actually agreed to being included in this tomfoolery, either.

Speaking of mistaken identity….

2) When the page looks painfully similar to a popular news website that you frequent – like, say, the Huffington Post? (see above) – but has this disclaimer tucked away deep in the annals of the page:

We are not affiliated in any way with CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, USA Today, BBC, 60 Minutes, CBS, U.S. News or FOX. CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, USA Today, BBC, 60 Minutes, CBS, U.S. News and FOX are all registered trademarks of their respective owners. All trademarks on this web site whether registered or not, are the property of their respective owners. The authors of this web site are not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the third-party trade mark or third-party registered trade mark owners, and make no representations about them, their owners, their products or services.

3) Do you see what I see?

She lost 100lbs in 3 months? Oh.

Listen to me. It is virtually impossible for a person to lose almost 100lbs, in 3 months, to get down only to 165, and still be alive. If a body loses that much weight that quickly, I expect to see decomposition. Loss of hair. A casket.

“Unretouched photos.” Ain’t that a b—

…let me keep going.

4) When you see all of these people praising the product, complete with photos, “first names” (Moesha? Stop trolling.), and convenient links for you to easily hand over your money… but then it’s followed up with this:

*THIS PAGE RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE.

*The story depicted on this site and the person depicted in the story are not real. rather this story is based on the results that some people who have used these products have achieved. The results portrayed in the story and in the comments are illustrative and may not be the results that you achieve with these products. this page receives compensation for clicks on or purchase of products featured on this site. The depictions on this page are fictitious and indicitive of potential results. Actual results may vary.

Oh, the person depicted in the story “are not real?” But I thought Moesha was tired of being fat?

5) It doesn’t fully explain that what you’re getting yourself into is not, in fact, a one-time purchase… but, instead, a rather pricey monthly subscription:

If you do not cancel within 14 day of the date that you enroll in the Program, we will charge the same card you provided at enrollment the monthly membership fee of $77.81. Then, beginning about 30 days after enrollment in membership program we will send you a fresh monthly shipment of the product and charge your card $77.81 when each supply ships. You can cancel monthly shipments and avoid further Monthly Charges at any time by contacting customer service at Monday through Friday, 9 am to 9 pm EST.

…except, your “Monday through Friday, 9am to 9pm” window for cancellation is only helpful if you can actually get someone on the phone, and only if you can get them to speak your language/get them to understand the problem/avoid the “well, it takes up to two months to fully cancel your “membership” (?!)”/avoid the “there’s a $99.99 cancellation fee.” In short, it’s a real pain to get out of what you might’ve gotten yourself into by being wooed by fancy made-up names with made-up weight loss success stories.

Clearly, I’m just annoyed by seeing my own image being used to promote the kind of thing I clearly stand against, but I just hate to see these kinds of scams, anyway. I hate to see that people who just want to get rid of the weight and are looking for answers wind up getting swindled for way more than they originally expected (how do you go from a $4.95 fee to a $77.95 monthly fee?!) to even spend. It just feels cruel and unfair to me, because I understand that feeling. I bought the hoodia pills, the metabolife, the “memberships.” I’ve been there. Looking at this site just frustrates me all over again. And, while I wish I could wipe the Internet of all of this crap, I’m only going to start with this one particular website, since it had the audacity to use MY damn image to promote it.

Do you have any experience with a weight loss scam? Have you ever had to deal with this foolishness? Have you been “got” by something like this? Speak on it!

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10 comments

Nefertiti November 1, 2012 - 11:30 AM

first off I want to say I hope you tell them they are using your images without permission if not taken off you will take legal action! That is just so wrong.

Second, I fell for these scam a long time ago when I was so desperate to loss wait I would do anything. These people are only out to make money and car little if anything about the consumer. Now I only listen to my doctor about losing weight and it’s working.

Monica November 2, 2012 - 11:43 PM

That’s pretty low for them to use your images. Pretty low and illegal.

marie November 4, 2012 - 12:59 PM

What????
You are going to sue them right? Make them regret they ever thought about using your image, that’s really creepy.

I’m a skeptical person but by definition, when a website requires people to pay to enjoy the “full benefit” of said product or method then i’m even more skeptical… I’m also quite cheap I guess that helps lol

Erika Nicole Kendall November 5, 2012 - 9:44 AM

I DID contact the legal department of their hosting company. We’ll see where it goes from there. 🙂

marie November 5, 2012 - 5:52 PM

Ok fingers crossed! Let us know the result i’m really curious…

Tara M November 11, 2013 - 6:53 PM

If you can, please post an update.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 12, 2013 - 9:11 AM

Well, these things run pretty quickly. The legal department of any host is going to always ask you for two things: 1) to prove you are the copyright owner of the image in question, and 2) to verify that you did not give the site owner permission to post your image. You send one e-mail with all of that information in it, and the next e-mail you receive is an e-mail telling you the site has been pulled down. Because of the nature of my blog and the fact that my face and image is everywhere, I basically have a template e-mail that I use for this stuff. The entire process took less than 48hrs.

Katrinda November 18, 2013 - 5:32 PM

I feel for this exact ad… I bought the pills but I called and cancelled before the 14 days and I did speak to a English speaking person and yes they gave me all kinds of excuses for not wanting to cancel but after I said no to them all they finally cancelled my subscription with a $16.00 canceling fee….. lesson learned but I did not have to pay that almost $80 per bottle… if I had waited after the 14 day trial period…

I argued with them on how they advertise 30 day free trial when they want you to cancel with 14 days … seems to me they should at least give you a full 30 to truly test the product… then they say it takes at least 60 days to see results… wow really… like i said lesson learned… S/N I fail for this because Dr. Oz said it worked…. too

christine April 28, 2014 - 10:12 AM

I think alot of people who buy these “diet dreams” are desperate. They’ve gotten to a point in their lives where they know they need to loose weight and think this is the best way to do it.
They believe that, if ya take x by Friday you’ll be ready for your Playboy centerfold, its really sad. They seem to prey on people at one of the weakest points of their lives. Booo hisss

Denice November 19, 2014 - 2:29 PM

I’m glad I didn’t see this ad before I found your blog!

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