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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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20 Responses to WARNING: Don’t get scammed by a keto supplement

  • Great Article! Professor Neily…

    • Thank you Dana – hope all is well with you!
      Neily

      • Im a new victim, i got charge $199 twice! I sent email to customer service of keto prime diet and no one of them really help me. They only apologize and said they cant cancel it and my order has been ship.
        Even i didnt join any membership. They charge me every month. Its so frustating…

    • My name is Terri, worked for a Law Firm here in Tyler TX. 16yrs. Am 73 and retired in 2017 as my only living family ( my son ) never sick since age 6 now at 52 was dignosed with a rare no systoms cancer Squimus Cell Carcinoma. Stage 4 Termonal. My heart shattered ! He was given 4 months but made it 12. They couldn’t believe it. At Hospice they said probably by the next morning, he was there four days. I’ve never been sick no female problems no meds except for my hands . My son and I have always been told we were brother and sister, we both appear 10 yrs younger. When he left it was April 1st 2017 his friends commented he didn’t wait until his BD the 16th he was a upbeat sweet person, He left on April fools day. My life stopped. In cosmetics and modeling ( my son modeled with me in a bridal gown catalog ) for 15 yrs I kept in shape. But gained some weight to my 115 went up 30 lbs from NOT eating for a yr and staying in bed. So I’ve lost my $1,800 a mo at the Law Firm and have Medicare. No family and I don’t choose to date. I usually work two jobs and have done well. ( YES ) I got caught up in a ketogeniks keto scam. It arrived with a second bottle of detox not ordered. Same story , the $6.84 bottle is now $87.89 the other $6.84 is now $92.99 already taken from my account. They shipped it out of FL the 19th , there not counting travel time of the product. I called upon receiving these items and stated listen to your phone call, I did not order Detox. I asked for a label to return, never got it and meanwhile I’ve had two breast cancer surgeries in three weeks and both eyes done removing cataracts and Fri a tooth extracted, one root canal and two crowns and much more to go. And I was told last week by my Breast Dr. Where I’ve been having an unusual amount of pain it’s a large blood clot. Ut- MDAnderson had not released me yet. Meanwhile I’m trying hard to save money for a Memorial for my son. I did release some ashes on the Dallas NasCar greens , he loved races and followed the Earnhearts. I’ve already put a dispute on the nearly two hundred $ at my bank and canceled my debit card. I fought in court and I’m ready to fight again. One attorney will prepare a letter I’ve copied some info off my cell phone data. They are using another bottle label that is exactly like another one on line. They go by Be Sure Fat Burn , Be sure Detox and Revitalizepurehltesto, My plan is to get paperwork done , copies off line ( they rate 2 stars) from the BBB. Ship these bottles back tomorrow asking for a full refund , as they sent extra product not ordered and was not concerned with my phone call the day receiving them. I-8 shipped I’m calling USPS and asking the delivery date. Any Dr. will tell you you need at least 30 days to try a new product. If you can advise me at all, please do. Didn’t mean to write a letter. I thank you in advance for your time. I may follow up with a couple photos. Terri Koch 4788 CR 1120 Tyler, TX 75704 903-5338866
      Paulsmomalways@gmail.com

      • Terri – your message is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry about your loss – losing a son is devasting.

        The post contains all the information you need. I’ve copied here:

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

        Good luck and God bless –
        Neily

  • You’ve got to be careful nowadays when ordering online

  • Great article, your blog gives an importance to be more careful and informed on what you read and order online.

  • Really cool article. I read your posts fairly often and you always do a good job articulating whatever topic you’re blogging about. Really interesting AND informative, Absolutely adored this post, Thanks so much, this blog post has such great points. Keep up the great work! Thanks again

  • This post has made me double think about Keto! love your blog!!

  • Read the “Term and Conditions”, if you can find them, and you will see it is a subscription. You will be seeing additional charges within a short time. Of course you can cancel ongoing orders/charges but gettin refunded the original charge is next to impossible. Ask me how I know….

  • I was recently scammed by the keto / shark tank scam 🙁 I agreed to a 30 day free trail – pay just the shipping cost. The my credit card company notified me of an $89.00 charge from the company x 2 🙁
    They are nothing but thieves and scammers – they agreed to refund me $100. Total absolute complete scammers – their is nothing that says your entering into a subscription – I have notified my credit card and will take it from there. Plus the product is crap and does NOT work !!!!!

  • Im a new victim of them. I clicked the promo keto and suddenly i got charge $199. I never join the monthly subscription and im ended $389 bill. Tried to contact the customer service but they dont really help me. Only apoligize and said i cant cancel because they already ship it. Its zo frustating…

  • I ordered a bottle from ketogenic valley as I heard all of the shark tank investors invested in this product so I thought it was reliable. They offered a free bottle if you paid shipping and handling. I paid $6.95 and all of a sudden over two weeks later they are charging my card $85. Thankfully it was declined because I used a card that never has money on it however now I have to worry about it being charged again. Buyers beware!!

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