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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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