Spammy, phony weight loss promises

You get an email from a friend, with a link and a message: “Hi! Oprah says it’s excellent!” But did your friend really send this message? And what’s so excellent?

Millions of people got emails like this one, but not from their friends. Image Instead, according to the FTC, marketers hired by Sale Slash sent spam emails from hacked email and social media accounts. Why? To trick people into thinking the messages came from a friend. And, of course, to sell stuff.

The links in the messages led to fake news sites promoting Sale Slash’s weight loss products. Everything about the news sites was fake. Endorsements from Oprah and The Doctors’ TV show? Fictitious. Reviews from news reporters? Phony. Testimonials from people with dramatic weight loss stories from using diet pills? Bogus.

Also false, according to the FTC? Claims that Sale Slash’s products would help people “melt away” extensive amounts of belly fat without diet or exercise. Just not true.

So here’s the skinny:

  • Even emails that seem to be from a friend might not be. Stop and check before you click any links or open any attachments.
  • Just because it looks like a celebrity or news reporter endorses a product, that doesn’t make it true. And it doesn’t mean that the product really works.
  • Anyone who claims you can lose more than a pound a week without diet and exercise is probably lying.


I got this email more times than I can count. I also knew that my friends contact lists were sabotaged because I click on details before I do anything with a suspicious email. But I'm glad you got to the bottom of this because I'm so sick of that email.

Thank you for your debunking advice

I think of the thousands of desperate people who are getting scammed by this activity and it makes me ill. Deception and misinformation, all for a buck. You can't even believe Dr. Oz anymore, let alone Oprah.

The latest TV scam is "Lipozine". Totally bogus claims. Why won't TV stations filter this crap before allowing it on their stations? O, wait- - - -$$$$$$$$!

Yah so what can I do about it?!?!?!

Articles on the FTC's weight loss & fitness page will help you evaluate weight loss and fitness claims before you buy products or services that claim to make it fast or easy to slim down or shape up.

My mother falls for these scams all the time - not only for weight loss, but many other email and online scams as well. If I could ban her from using the internet, I most certainly would so she doesn't get duped out of her money. Whenever possible, I tell her to please send me the link or email if she is thinking of buying something so I can check it out first.

I ordered a "free" sample of Garcinia Cambogia through these scam artist. I had to pay shipping and a small fee of approximately $10.00 in late March. I threw the stuff in the trash. I got my credit card statement and on April 4 they had charged my credit card almost $200.00 because I didn't cancel within the 14 days trial period. How many people read the fine print. I called Citi Bank and protested the charges. Citibank's rep set up a three way call with Buywellonline and they basically said to shove it and I had to pay the $200.00 charge. The person to whom we were talking did offer to give me a 25% reduction on the charge. I basically told him to shove his 25%. I'm hoping Citibank realizes that this operation is a scam and they shouldn't be doing business with these people. I'm waiting now to see if Citibank flexes their muscle and charges this back to Buywellonline. DON'T DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE.

You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at We appreciate your blog comment because it helps warn other people about this scam, but it’s not a formal complaint.

I too got hooked into pure garçinia cambogia "trial" sample. Used a credit card to pay for the shipping. They then started charging $130-160.00 randomly to card. Contact with them was hard. They don't respond. I did file a bbb complaint and also a fraud complaint with my credit card. I finally was able to get their company blocked from my acct and their charges dismissed. A full month later I finally got an email from pgc recognizing my refusal of any further product/charges. And no,I dint take the product. The labels were crooked and on 1 bottle two labels were overlapped crookedly.

My friends and sisters keep getting emails say I (using my name) recommend a diet to them. It's not me, so what has happened that they have and are using my name?

If people are getting emails that seem to be from you, it might mean your email or social media accounts were hacked. 

You should make sure your security protections are up-to-date, reset your password, and warn your friends. This FTC article about hacked email has more information.

I purchased 2 bottle of diet pills , one was $34.95 and the other one was $44.95.when I checked my account I saw the charged me for 2 extra bottles more that I was even ordered . $199.10 and 3.95. Any times I called from the customer service # they never picked it up and also they called me from an 347 area code phone.

If the company won't return the charge, call your credit card company and dispute the charge. Ask your credit card company to reverse the charge, because you didn't actively order the additional merchandise.

If you've been wrongly charged, report it to the FTC and your local consumer protection agency.

Along the same vein, I was scammed by some beauty company. I ordered a free 'sample' (online) for $4.95 shipping, and within DAYS, my cc was charged over $100. Company at first basically told me 'too bad, I owe', and further calls went unanswered. Called my cc company and disputed. They said this is all too familiar...if so, & everyone knows about it, why is it allowed to continue? Eventually the company refunded 1/3 charge, but I would not allow them to collect one dime not owed. Worked with credit card company to receive a FULL refund, INCLUDING the so called shipping charges! Lesson well learned. No more 'free samples.' After reading all of this, think I will go ahead and report this scam to the FTC as well.

I see several complaints on this page about the same thing that happened to me about face cream recommended by Dr Oz. I disputed the charges and my bank has filed a fraud charge against them. Recently I received a collection letter for one of the charges for 99.01 for product I did not order and was sent to me and charged 5.95 shipping. Am waiting to see what will happen but am going to file this with FTC anyway. My bank called me before giving them the money as they were aware of this scam so I am out only the 5.95 twice. They keep posting these ads on Facebook,just change the name of the product and the picture. I have been taking screen shots of them and I went on YouTube where they also are everywhere telling the people it is a scam. Finally, someone in this crooked company got wind of it and stopped comments from being made. Why are they still in business? I have the address where both products came from but I am sure it is fake. Why hasn't the FTC shut them down.

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