Real Problems; Fake Profit Goods: How Scam Advertisement Fools Millions

If you dare, take a break from reading and open up your email’s spam folder. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll find at least one if not dozens of emails advertising noni juice, goji berries, Herbalife’s nutraceuticals, erectile dysfunction pills, manhood enlargement pumps, etc.

While it’s an incredibly odd and relatively disturbing thing to be bombarded with on a daily basis, we’re sure — they wouldn’t keep sending those emails out if they weren’t making money doing it.

Do the pills, juice, or machines they’re selling actually work? Most certainly, no.

Even if they somehow do, let’s be honest — any positive effect is minimal and temporary.

“This year, I’m going to lose some weight/gain some muscles/start eating healthy/etc./etc.”

Many of us would find ourselves making this common New Year’s decision. A new year rolls in, we even start working out and eating healthy, but the results aren’t considerable. All of a sudden, while binge surfing the web BANG — weight loss pills advertisement ensuring measurable results in weeks. You’d say “Nah, yet another useless stuff…” while hundreds would buy into that stuff.

Many types of these “plug-in and chill” products are offered via serious-looking advertisements that include endorsements from “scientific” researchers, celebrities, “real doctors”,  but if you look closer, you’ll see that claims of safety and effectiveness haven’t been anyhow proved. Vendors rely on testimonials, falsified data, and rigged before-and-after photos. 

Weight Loss

Right before we get to the point, it’s reasonable to admit — dietary supplements and their dosage are not controlled by the FDA. What it means, is that thousands of scam manufacturers are not obliged to prove safety or effectiveness of their nutraceuticals.

(credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Weight loss scams are among the most common and widespread. People around the globe want to lose weight, and fake benefit goods promise the moon without the hassle of diets or physical exercises. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or sorcerer’s potion that would make you slim and fit instantly. Nevertheless, people’s naivety is endless, and con artists continue to cash in on it. Weight loss scammers use a variety of methods to lure you into purchasing their worthless products. Many create websites that appear to feature articles from legitimate magazines or news organizations pressing the magic weight loss products on naive people. 

Recall once hyped Garcinia Cambogia. This tropical fruit became popular worldwide after being featured on a TV show about 5 years ago. For those who missed the hype, Garcinia Cambogia was a “breakthrough discovery” capable of burning fat in just a couple of weeks. Haha, doesn’t it remind of once hyped goji berries?

One study with 130 people (with no significant difference in weight or fat percentage) compared Garcinia against a placebo pill. On average, Garcinia-containing nutraceutical caused a loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) over several weeks. What a result! With its side effects including dizziness, headache, upset stomach, and explosive diarrhea… 

Unironically, pills that contain Garcinia are still available on the market.

Did you know, that there’s a way to block ads on ebay? Numerous commercials dressed up as regular goods/services cards can be brushed off easily. Read this article and clean up your Internet experience!

Muscle Growth

People who are into sports and bodybuilding know how challenging it is to build lean and ripped muscles. Years of training, gym workouts, and specific personal diets — just the tip of the iceberg. But what if I say, that there’s an easy way of growing muscles? What if I say that you can burn fat and pump up to become almost as big as Arnie without gym hassle?

No exercises, no diet, no gym — a godsend for people busy 24/7. Just put that stuff on while relaxing and get your muscles pumped and fat burned. Excited? We bet you are. 

Jokes aside. Ask any professional bodybuilder about these belts. They would in one voice say “TRASH. USELESS TRASH.”

At least, belts do less harm than other supplements like Synthol. For those not familiar with Synthol, it’s a mixture of oils that offers immediate muscle mass enlargement effects. This liquid has actually been on the market legally for years. You might think Synthol is some kind of steroids, but hell no. People, seeking for instant muscles, inject Sythnol deep into the biceps, deltoids, and triceps without thinking of the consequences. The substance is considerably dangerous. Just Google for “Synthol freaks” or “Synthol bodybuilding” and see for yourself.

Read Also: Fake ads on Google Search and How to Prevent It

Manhood Enlargement and ED Cure

The overwhelming majority of fake benefit products sold on the market have never been examined scientifically, neither they were proven to positively affect the Erectile Dysfunction issue. Just like in the case with dietary supplements, ED “medication” use and dosage are not controlled by the US Food and Drug Administration. Since FDA has little influence on ED medication, its safety for health raises serious concerns, especially if those “medications” are used in heavy doses, and for long periods of time.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine‘s 2015 review explored and researched a couple of the most frequently used compounding components in non-prescription “nutraceuticals” offered for men’s sexual health improvement. The purpose of the review was to search for any scientific evidence and to determine if these products are effective and safe.
Unironically, no scientific evidence was found, no medical confirmation, just fraud claims that they improve ED and other areas of men’s sexual performance.

It was also noted in the research that some “natural” products in the online stores contain traces of PDE5 inhibitors (contained in worldwide known Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Stendra). Researchers also cited a study that found 81% of tested non-prescription products purchased in the U.S. and Asia contained PDE5 inhibitors, which are potentially harmful and dangerous. Among the dangers are sudden blood tension drops in men suffering from coronary vascular diseases or in those who take nitrate medicines. (Credit: Harvard Health)

What About Facebook Scam Ads?

Con artists went forth and multiplied as soon as the world has settled on the lockdown. People started spending more time on the Internet, social media, messengers, etc. Facebook is the perfect environment for con artists and will still be it because there is no immediate action to scam adverts besides the “Report” button. Scam ads on Facebook usually disguise as an alluring ad promising (baiting) a great product, at a low price tag. Fake Facebook ads sell everything from cosmetics, clothing, accessories, electronics, to health supplements and flash jewelry.

As the con artists and scammers become more advanced and fishy, it becomes almost impossible to tell apart from real and fake Facebook ads. By using professional photos, nicely-written texts, and security certificates on their websites, scammers make the whole thing look like a real deal, convincing even skeptical shoppers. And that’s where scam ads on Facebook become a real problem. You do remember the rumble around users’ data leaking from Mark’s social media platform and their reaction to the situation. The same is happening to the scam: “You got played a trick on? Press “Report”. So what would happen? Nothing.

How to Identify Scam Ads?

It’s always:

  • Too good to be true;
  • No contacts – just try getting in touch with the company;
  • No/Bad/Fake reviews or comments.

There are even more things to look out for and we’re considering them in the bottom line of the article. If you still hesitate on a “great deal”, please check the no-go signals from our article.

How to Protect Yourself from Facebook Scam Ads?

We’d like to consider several preventive measures that may help you avoid Facebook scam advertising. 

Don’t accept strange friend requests —  scammers often use fake accounts for their fraudulent activity on the platform.

Keep your OS up to date — make sure the in-built operating system defenders are frequently updated so fraudsters won’t have a chance of accessing your computers through vulnerabilities. 

Use advanced privacy settings on Facebook — limit what others on your page can and cannot view.

Use a VPN — hide your online identity and protect sensitive data.

Never click anything asking for personal data — such URL redirects are used specifically to steal sensitive data.

Use antivirus software — is there a need to justify the benefits of using the antivirus?

YouTube Scam Ads

YouTube is a great platform with some Giga scams sneaking through the system. Two years ago the controversy around crypto-scam ads swinging around the YouTube videos took place and there was no sufficient explanation or a response from YouTube. And still, there are tons of scams and fake ads on YouTube that force gambling, crypto, or even prostitution. Even though the majority knows about the fraudulent content of the ads, there are people unaware of the threat. The best solution to not fall a victim to such ads on YouTube is to get an adblocker and forget such ads even exist. And please, don’t get baited by MrBeast.

MrBeast Scam Ads

MrBeast Scam ads

Mr. Beast has more than 39 million subscribers on his YouTube channel thanks to his YouTube videos. Since Jimmy Donaldson is known for his philanthropy, it’s not surprising that fans believe that Mr. Beast himself is giving away free cash. MrBeast himself addressed his fans and subscribers stating that scammers around the Internet use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and numerous other ways of spreading the fraudulent “you won cash” content from fake accounts. He asked people to not believe it unless he personally (using his verified account) contacts anyone.

Among the email scams, “Your PayPal account has been limited” is one of the trickiest. What you should know and which actions to take, in our article here.

Bottom line

Scam ads randomly appear in your social media feed, news websites, email inbox. You see, these sleazy little scam ads are successful because they appeal to the vain and insecure part of every human. Worries that we’re not good enough, not big enough, not strong enough provoke us to lap fake goods up. The problem is that we lack self-confidence and the will to work on ourselves.

What to look out for

  • Strange methods of payment. Scammers may request payment using electronic funds transfer, money order, preloaded money card, or wire service. This is a big no.
  • Too good to be true. Scams often advertise great benefits or items at unbelievably low prices.
  • Strange web address. The link from the advertisement appears genuine but when you click it, it redirects you to untrustworthy and, oftentimes, dangerous domains.
  • No customer reviews. Be wary of shopping pages that are very new, selling products at very low prices, and have no (or fake) customer reviews.
  • No contacts or store policies. Be wary of websites that provide no contacts, privacy /returns policies, or terms and conditions of use.
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Arina Serezchenko

Arina Serezchenko

Marketologist, Ray of sunshine at Hankuper s.r.o.!!! Bet you wouldn’t have thought this elegant lady is into technologies and software. Striving to make everything better, Arina contributes her vast experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm to AdLock and its team. At loose hours she takes her time to write insightful articles for the blog.