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Keto Hoax and Shark Tank

supplements, fraudMy mom sent a link the other day with the message: “Okay, my personal researcher. Ellie’s sister sent me this. Your thoughts?”

I’m glad I’m her ‘go-to’ person for all thing’s nutrition.

Years ago mom sent an email almost every week. An acquaintance would forward her something with the message, “I wonder if your daughter knows about this. She is studying nutrition, right?” or “Monet, if your daughter doesn’t know about this, she should.”

Sure, I was in grad school and learning but enjoyed investigating. Mom’s emails decreased over time because she got smart and did some researching on her own.

So, her recent inquiry caught me off guard.

Too good to be true

Looking at the link I saw how easy it was to not know…is this too good to be true or is there something here? The website in the link was appealing for several reasons. It touted an episode of one of my favorite shows, Shark Tank.

Copy on the website read, “…the first contestants in the show’s long duration to ever receive a standing ovation and offers of investment from all panel members.”

Mom and I are both fans and rarely miss an episode but she thought maybe she missed that one. I thought I did too because I definitely would have remembered. Plus, Mark Cuban, like me, is wise to supplements—the promises, the pills, the productsand knows placebo effects prevail. I can’t imagine he’d invest in something like that.

It’s a hoax

Newsflash. Mark Cuban did not invest. It’s a hoax.

Last July someone tweeted him, “Mark did the Sharks invest in a company that sells diet pills by the name of KETO? It’s being advertised so I just wanted to be aware.”

Mark replied: “This is a scam. If you see anything like this, please report them to the @FTC.”

fraud, scam, lyingMark also tweeted, “We chase them but it’s like whack a mole.”

An ad or website deceptively mentions someone—like a celebrity doctor or TV show like Shark Tank, but trying to track the hoax down is impossible. You whack one down and another pops up.

A quick Google search makes it hard to fact check unless you dig a little. It’s interesting….the first few items in the Google search include titles like, “Is it a hoax…” and then in the content proclaim, “No it is not.” The articles in the Google search are click bait—they’re affiliates for the product or other keto-related product.

“I’ll just get my money back.”

I see how people get fooled. Check what’s on the website:

  • 100% money back guarantee.
  • It’s a free product. You just pay shipping.
  • 100% clinically proven.
  • Limited time only! No prescription needed!
  • Due to increased demand for our offers with free bottles we have a limited supply. As of March 11, 2019, we currently have the product IN STOCK, and are ready to ship within 24 hours of purchase.

Read that and it’s easy to think, “What have I got to lose?” Right? “If it doesn’t work I’ll just get my money back.”  Hmmm, good luck.

Over the years people have admitted to me falling for similar schemes. The product was free but the company had their credit card for shipping. Months later and hours of time wasted, one woman got her money back and another ended up canceling her credit card because the customer service number was disconnected.

I understand how my mom wondered—she received the email from someone she trusted. It’s how many hoaxes play out.

A grade of F

The Better Business Bureau opened a file last summer and the company got a grade of F. (I removed the product/company name below because there is no reason to give them more advertising.)

  • BBB has confirmed that the images appearing on (company) website were taken from a separate Shank Tank episode that does not mention (product). Internal research has been unable to locate any episodes of Shark Tank that featured (product).
  • It is unclear whether consumers will be charged a continual fee after purchasing products, also known as a “Negative Option”, since the terms included on the company’s website fail to disclose this. (Neily’s note: they do. Once they’ve got your credit card….)
  • Notably, the company has also advertised “UPDATE: Due to popular Social Media & TV demand our stores are struggling to keep supply in stock. As of Tuesday, 6/26/2018 we do have a limited supply IN STOCK and ready to ship within 24 hours.” (Neily note: the same message appears at the time of this post)
  • BBB has attempted to contact the business to seek substantiation for its advertised claims, yet the company provides no contact information on its website or social media. As such, BBB has determined that this website represents a high-risk type of business category, and consumers should be advised to take caution before ordering products.

In the BBB review, the product had a number of names and at least 11 website addresses. Not including the link from my mom. I appreciate my mom checking in with me to do the research.

As I told her, “Tell your friends…buyer beware. If it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve been duped by any product, I empathize, but I want to know. Please leave a comment or get in touch with me and share your story.


Photo credits:

Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach
@JenniferNeily Twitter | @NeilyonNutrition Instagram

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13 Responses to Keto Hoax and Shark Tank

  • Great Article!

  • I’d love to know about all of the advertised juice cleanses! For example, Juice from the RAW. Please thank you!

    • Thanks for your comment Dominique! We’ve talked about this in class a bit. Most juice cleanses are advertised as a way to detox. But do we need a detox? We don’t. If it makes you feel better, fine, do it. But there is really no need. I wrote about detox here and here is another resource. This info is from the National Institutes of Health and this from Science-Based Medicine and this from the New York Times.

      When researching something I always look for reputable sources. No reputable source says cleansing is necessary. Those sites saying you NEED to are…most likely selling a product. The BEST way to ‘detox’ is to eat a wholesome nutrient-rich mostly plant-based diet of veggies and fruits, lean protein, whole grains. If you choose juice cleanse products, they likely won’t hurt you but there is also no magic to them. -Neily

  • I got caught with this scam. Paid $100 for the free pills. After 2 weeks I noticed my left leg and left arm would tingle a lot. The tingle shortly thereafter became jerks and then became a really bad pain in my upper left arm.
    I stopped immediately the pain started.
    I hope the pills aren’t a fen-fen scam that damaged people’s hearts.

    • Oh Julia! I’m so sorry…that breaks my heart when people get taken in by ‘snake oil salespeople.’ There are no quick and easy ways to health. (As much as people would like to believe…and those willing to sell to them.)

  • You nailed it! Naturally we want to believe since it sounds so easy to lose that weight without hard work but no such magic product exist. Discipline is hard but worth the real effort!!

  • I am normally very wise about such ads. However, I researched online and found that one bottle averaged 21.85 so when I saw discount for $19.99 I ordered a bottle on Wednesday, June 19.2019 at 7pm daylight savings time from Nova Scotia, Canada. Then within seconds I got an email with my order number and a charge for $199.99. I used a virtual visa debit card . I called the number listed to cancel the order a mistake was made as I never ordered 6 bottles to be told that the order could not be cancelled as the order was already in packing and shipping. I asked to speak with someone from such department to be told I would be unable and I asked for the supervisor or,anger to be told unable. I immediately contacted my bank and within seconds $19.99 nor $199.99 was not withdrawn from my bank account but two transactions 1.)$2.69 2.)275.38 , withdrawn by burnlite.com85 for total of $278.07. My card was blocked and then my bank agent referred me to dispute and I have someone assisting me that I contact back on July 4,2019. Three emails to customer care have resulted in unable to cancel product shipped. The third email was from Joseph D stating order was researched to find it was shipped could not be cancelled and the rest of the letter was a formatted type letter. I placed a call again today and got Kim who could not nor would not give me a full mailing address only stating New York USA, and checked the order # denying the monies taken from my account but I had my documents stating such that were more than the one bottle, more than the email statement telling me that it would show burnlite.com85 on my bank statement and 6 bottles not 1 I ordered being sent. After persistence, she did tell me that I could return product to what would be the warehouse information on the parcel but I had to call a number once I got the parcel before I returned it so I could find put if I could get my refund. I have also contacted FTC. I researched prior and it is only today I am finding that KETO was not sponsored by Shark TV program and that Mark Cubin even posted it was a hoax. I could not find such Wednesday, June 19,2019. The parcel is to be shipped UPS. Of I get such it will not be opened but returned. It was just that someone in community did order a bottle and did not get scammed that I tried such on Wednesday, June 19,2019. So that person may have ordered something from a legit company. The customer care support team that either answer or email seem to have the same line and defend their company and product and use Norton Shipping. I am 69 year old female on low income and 278.07 was withdrawn from my account in a matter of seconds. I am normally the person who would tell you to be aware.

    • Sharon – thank you for this comment! This breaks my heart it happened to you – it proves my point so well. I wish you the best of luck in getting it resolved. It’s a good warning for others! -Neily

    • Same here. Got scammed for the $199. Did you get your refund? I am sending mine back also. There is a address on the shipment however its saying “life nutra” is the company and the address is P.O. Box 30111-91 Salt Lake City, Utah 84130. There are HUNDREDS of this PO Box 30111 and they all contain a dash (-) and a different 2 digits. Ridiculous that this happens and the BBB cant shut them down.

      • Thank you for sharing your story Karen. It pains me to hear how people are getting scammed…I hope to continue to bring more light to something that bothers me so much. I wish you the best in getting this resolved and at least hopefully warning others to be cautious. -Neily

  • How do I cancel this?

    • Hi Missy-
      I’m trying to clarify your question. Are you saying you ordered the product (keto supplement) and want to know how to cancel your order? I don’t have an answer for you unfortunately. I have nothing to do with the product – I wrote the post because I know a lot about the supplement industry and know how unscrupulous it can sometimes be. I was bringing awareness. You could read some other recent comments from readers and their very unfortunate experiences.

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