The FTC has issued a warning about scammers spoofing news websites to promote health products. They do it by creating fake websites, using fake endorsements from public figures and lying about the effectiveness of their products.
In an investigation by the FTC, it was found that a number of shady companies selling “brain booster” pills are using these exact tactics to promote their products.
They do it by building spoofed websites that look like familiar news sites. The spoofed news sites link you to the sales page for the product, which allows you to place an order with a credit or debit card. The sites aren’t real news sites, they make phony claims about their products and the celebrity endorsements featured on the sites are fake. Celebrities like Stephen Hawking and Anderson Cooper have commonly been used. Representatives from Hawking and Cooper have confirmed that neither has endorsed any “brain booster” products.
Typical claims made by scammers are:
These kinds of sites are nothing but a big scam. As noted in the FTC warning, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that you talk to your doctor to get the facts about health products before purchasing.
If someone has already paid money to a scammer with a credit or debit card they may still be able to get their money back. Andrew Johnson, a Consumer Education Specialist at the FTC, provides these instructions: