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WARNING: Don’t get scammed by a keto supplement

A few months ago I wrote a post about keto supplements, keto hoax and Shark Tank. (If you’re not familiar with the ketogenic diet or ‘keto,’ read this post.) It broke my heart to see a comment from a woman who fell victim to the scheme. Several people contacted me with similar stories. Sharon gave me permission to tell her story (edited for space)—we hope we can prevent others from something similar happening.

(To answer the question brought up from that post…NO I do not recommend these keto supplements. And you can read here why I don’t recommend the ketogenic diet in general. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss upcoming posts and if you’re not familiar with the supplement industry you will want to read this.)

She thought she was buying a product for $19.99 and got charged $278!

Sharon wrote, “I am normally very wise about such ads and normally the person who would tell you to be aware. However, I researched online and found one bottle of a keto supplement was on sale for $19.99.”

After ordering, within seconds Sharon got an email with an order number. She was charged $199.99. She called immediately to say a mistake was made but was told it was too late, the product was already being packaged and shipped. (Seriously? Within seconds?)

A supervisor was unavailable when she requested the call be escalated. Sharon contacted her bank and was charged not $19.99 nor $199.99, but $278.07. The bank blocked her card for further transactions and her situation was referred to her bank’s dispute center for investigation. So what could Sharon have done?

How not to fall for online gimmicks

Unfortunately, situations like Sharon’s are not out of the norm, so I offer this advice. And not advice just for a keto keto hoax-keto scamsupplement product, but any supplement/product purchased online. Be wary of these points:

  • Ignore product review sites and be cautious of most links. Some look legit but many are trying to sell you something and are often a scam. You’ll see things like this in your product search (substitute any product name for keto).
    • Top Keto Products—We Reviewed this Year’s Best
    • Top 10 Best Keto Products
    • Be Wary of THESE Keto Supplements
  • Beware of phony blogs.
    • You might search a product and up pops something like how to avoid the (name of product) scam…you click and it is another site selling a bogus product.
    • In one search I found a blog touting a keto supplement and when I clicked on the About Us link I got this dummy text often used as filler content: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
      No legitimate source was mentioned on the site.
  • Beware of bogus ads. You’ve seen them I’m sure…they pop up in your news feed, “Never eat these foods,” or “Eat this one food to rid your body of belly fat.”
  • Beware of endorsements. As I wrote about before, Shark Tank did NOT invest in a keto supplement. In response to a tweet, Mark Cuban replied:“This is a scam. If you see anything like this, please report them to the @FTC. We chase them but it’s like whack a mole.”
  • Beware of testimonials – Anecdotal info (personal stories) are not reliable and there is no way to know if it was just written by someone with a knack for words. “The plural of anecdote is not data.”
  • Don’t trust reports of clinical studies – you might see clinically proven or clinically tested, but unless you can verify the validity of the study, there likely is no truthfulness to the claim. No agency verifies reports stated in advertising content.
  • Do your due diligence and check the company you’re buying from. Check out the Better Business Bureau or complaint websites like complaintsboard.com or reach out to me like my mom did.
  • Beware of free.
    • A message on the complaintboard.com website, “Got offered (a) free trial only had to pay shipping then today (date) had $260 taken out of my bank account for something I have never agreed or signed up to now I’m left with no money this week unable to buy food, etc…”
    • In another message someone wrote, “Unauthorized payment from my account. I applied for a free trial and only had to pay for posted but now I find that they are accessing my account without my permission for the last 3 months and I don’t even use the product….”

Guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

  • Avoid hidden costs by researching online – see what other people are saying about their free trials and service.
  • When placing an order if there is a checked box, uncheck it – keeping it checked might be giving the company authorization.
  • Dispute the charge with your credit card company…never use a debit card. And report to ftc.gov/complaint
  • Here are some practical tips to help you stay ahead of crooks trying to scam you. 10 things you can do to avoid fraud
  • Free trials will cost you

Facts about the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) 1994:

One of my favorite presentations to give is called, Supplement Sense or Nonsense: The Truth About the Pills You’re Popping. Let me know if your company or organization is interested in hearing me speak. I go into detail in my post Dietary Supplements: The truth about the pills you’re popping. 

  • Since passage of DSHEA in 1994—which essentially deregulated the industry—the market grew from an estimated 4,000 products to over 80,000.
  • No dietary supplement is required to be proven safe and/or effective before putting on the market.
  • If you see a dietary supplement claim made in an “FDA-approved” facility you cannot be assured of its quality—FDA does not approve supplement facilities.
  • The most adulterated product category/categories of supplements includes:
    • Weight loss – contain illegally added weight loss drugs or banned substances.
    • Male enhancement – contain illegally added Viagra or other drug for erectile dysfunction.
    • Physical enhancement (body building) – contain illegally-added anabolic steroids.

What happened to Sharon?

Did Sharon get her money back?

Eventually, yes Sharon got her money back after the investigation. But not from the manufacturer, from her bank.

Sharon sent constant emails and made calls to the manufacturer to fix the situation but it was a constant runaround. She had documented proof of ordering one, not six bottles of the keto supplement.

A 69-year-old female on a fixed lower income and out several hundred dollars is devastating.

Sharon and I offer this advice:

  1. Go to your bank (or call them) to make a report.
  2. Contact the company immediately. Legitimate companies will (should!) have willing customer service reps.
  3. Keep documentation of everything—numbers you call, names of people you speak to, time and date you call, etc.
  4. Use a virtual or prepaid credit card. Several card issuers offer them, for example Citibank
  5. Review your bank and credit card activity online regularly (don’t wait for monthly statements).
  6. Contact the FTC and file a report. You can do that here.
  7. Contact the BBB and make a report. You can do that here.
  8. NEVER use a debit card for online purchases.
  9. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. As always, buyer beware.

Thanks for reading! Lmk if you had a similar experience and what advice you can offer my readers.

-Neily

P.S. Need help in figuring out what to do next? Schedule a complimentary meeting with me!


Photo credits: pixabay.com and ftc.gov

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

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