Health and Wellness

Weight-loss Click-Bait

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This is something I find to be very annoying.  I was scrolling through Instagram the other night, when a “Sponsored Post” showed up in my feed with a video.  The video has a girl that lost a significant amount of weight, and shows that she did it in one month by combining green tea, apple cider vinegar and some pill together and drinking it, and has a link to an “article” explaining more.

 

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source: Instagram

 

 

If you look at the account that the Sponsored Post is through, it says “Decorox Decorative Sculptures and Figurines.” Why would a sculpture company have anything to do with weightloss?

I knew this was fishy but I clicked on the article, which takes you to what appears to be an article on CNN. Yet, if you look at the URL, it is not cnn.com:

 

screenshot_20161220-090744

 

 

 

 

The “article” is supposedly an interview with the girl in the video, Amanda Haughman, a student at Cornell University.  It has several links to the brand of Garcinia Cambogia that she used.  This morning, the product was called Premiere Garcinia Cambogia:

 

 

 

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Yet now, it says MyLyfe Garcinia Cambogia:

 

 

screenshot_20161220-100605

 

 

 

Also, if you scroll to the bottom, there are a bunch of fake Facebook comments boasting of the effectiveness of the combination.  I knew they were fake because you can’t click on them, and instead of “12 Likes” is says “12 Like.”

 

 

 

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No doubt, I’ll bet that if you click on the product, which claims to have a free trial by just paying for shipping, it will take you to a page that will take your credit card information and start billing you $60 a month for pills that they send you automatically which may or may not be what they claim to be, and you will have a difficult time trying to cancel your “membership” that you somehow unknowingly signed up for.

 

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Furthermore, after seeing someone’s comment and doing some research, I found that the girl that they used in the video, whose name is actually Seana Forbes, is a product the company Freeletics. If you go to their website, you will see her video under “Success Stories,” which shows her 3 month journey of working out hard to get to that end result. Not 30 days, and no “miracle pill.”

 

source: Freeletics.com

source: Freeletics.com

 

This company stole her video, dubbed over it with cutesy music, and used it as click-bait to hawk their product and get you to release your credit card information to them.

I have seen this a lot, with fake sites claiming to be CNN or FOX or something similar, that have used weight-loss photos from an actual hard-working individual from another legit fitness site. I have seen another blogger document her long, hard journey of weight-loss have her before and after photos used on a fake supplement site.

This happens often. In the past, when I was looking for quick-fixes, I might have fallen prey to one of these sites. Here’s what to look for to see if a company is legit:

 

The URL – if it is an article claiming to be CNN, or FOX News, or some other big-name site, first look at the url. If it’s not CNN.com then it is fake. This site tried to trick you by putting cnn.com in their site, but if you actually read it, it is cnn.com-85.co.
Logos – I received a link to an article on “Fox News” boasting a raspberry ketones supplement. I knew it was fake because the url was foxnewsusa.net, but I went on the actual foxnews.com and saw that the logo was slightly different than the logo used in the “article.”

Research the product – If you are actually considering the product (which I hope you aren’t), then google the product, and try to find actual reviews from real-life people. Avoid reviews on sites where it seems like they are really trying to sell you on the product. An honest review would be someone who lists the pros and cons, and doesn’t urge you to go buy the product immediately. Someone might say “I would recommend this product if…” or “I would recommend this product for someone who…” Avoid the sites with only positive reviews that say “This works! Go try it now!” and that link to the product page several times.

Use your best judgement – if something seems fishy to you, it probably is. If you’re having doubts, don’t buy it.

 

 

So this post was kind of a rant, but that ad annoyed me to no end. Instagram probably needs to filter their Sponsored Posts a little more.

 

 

Remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight-loss, and if there are, then it is unnatural, unhealthy, and not sustainable. To make an actual change takes hard work, dedication, and time.  A healthy, sustainable change does not happen overnight. I have learned that patience is the key component to weight-loss. Use your best judgement when it comes to supplements, and do research.  Make sure if you do purchase a product that you know all of the ingredients, and have researched all of the effects it has on your body. Keep your health first!

 

 

UPDATE: Apparently, this ad is running on multiple sites and social platforms and has been using a variety of different people’s photos.  I have seen Seana Forbe’s of Freeletics, High Carb Hannah, and Rachel Graham’s photos used for the same exact article claiming it is “Amanda Haughman of Cornell University.”  Amanda Haughman does not exist.  And the brand of Garcinia Cambogia changes daily.  Taking a pill will not give you healthy, sustainable weight loss.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle P.
    January 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Great post! I came here after searching by the (what turned out to be of course fake) name “researcher” on another version of the ad.

    I saw that the “Facebook” comments were suspect and unclickable, as well as having been all left within the past half hour. Really. The people who set up the several pages are “banking” that folks won’t check out things so thoroughly. One of the “testimonials” said a guy lost 130 lbs. in just 3 MONTHS. That’s just NOT doable—even if he had had surgery. God knows how many people have only seen—through their desperation—only one thing: fast weight loss. And never checked outside those blinders for the other important things: scam; and what’she really IN those pills???

    • Reply
      sareda
      January 28, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      The most annoying thing, is “Amanda Haughman” has a twitter account full of typical things a college girl would have, generic “motivational” quotes, break up quotes, a bunch of teen vines, and other fake crap to look real.
      I first suspected this might be fake, when the article quoted her saying something like “Well the university gave me funds for the project for weight loss, and I first got the idea when Melissa McCarthy said she lost all her weight by combining garcinia extremeX with Apple Cider Vinegar”. Um… okay than how did YOU find this and why are you getting credit for stealing someones idea?

      Heh anyway thanks for posting this and making some sense f these robotic clickbate thinsg roaming the net!

    • Reply
      Kesha R Frazier
      March 31, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Great Post sad to say I purchased the product. I felt it was fishy but I wanted to try it out because I’ve heard that Garcinia Cambogia had good effects even heard this on Dr. OZ.
      Now their using the name Amanda Haughman to advertise Slim Trim 2000
      http://in-touch-weekly.com/blog/v2/?affId=A2F94CC5&c1=4509&c2=103075557&c3=MBD2w2tumtz45g_RPL_US_402dt1g&campaign=17

      • Reply
        Jordan
        April 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

        I have seen the name Amanda Haughman on a variety of different products now, most of them being some sort of Garcinia Cambogia pill. Were you able to get a refund? I have read several reports from individuals who purchased the product in the articles being charged a ton of money every month and having a really difficult time cancelling their orders and getting any money refunded.

        • Reply
          roshal
          May 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm

          I made such a stupid decision and fell for the ad and purchased the products a few mins as I was so keen to loose weight, i researched more about it after purchasing and now I regret it so badly, i knew something was not right when I didn’t get a confirmation email and also when I went back on the purchasing site it wouldn’t let me. I want to cancel this Im not sure what to do, please can you advise? should I go to my bank and tell them what has happened?

          • Jordan
            May 25, 2017 at 4:37 pm

            That’s probably what I would do. If they charge you, call the bank to dispute the charges and explain what happened and ask that they block all transactions from that vendor, they might cancel your card and send you a new one. Or you can just request a new bank card.

  • Reply
    Vidya Bulusu
    February 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

    When I saw the article this morning on Facebook, it said Slimfit 180 instead of Garcinia Cambogia. The non-CNN URL bothered me do, so wanted to do a little bit more research. That’s how I arrived at this page! It’s disgusting how idiots would bank on other people’s desperation to lose weight!

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

    And man this Amanda Hoffman/Amanda Haughman gets around… I’ve seen “reports” that she’s a student of Cornell, Stafford, and The University of Virginia… The story exactly the same but using a different college. I live near Ithaca (where Cornell is located), so now I imagine the ad on my Facebook chose to use the Cornell version. I thought “oh cool, she’s at the college near me”, and thought some of my friends (who either work or study at Cornell) might even know her. I’m kicking myself for being such a moron. I intend to look into all their fine print, I’m sure they covered their asses to avoid lawsuits, which I feel would be very warranted by the universities sited, CNN, and consumers.

  • Reply
    tezz
    March 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Amanda really gets around, the world. Now at a Sydney Uni, and Monash Uni downder.

  • Reply
    Laura
    March 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you Jordan for taking so much time to research this ad so thoroughly! Thank you for disabusing this product! I, too, thought it was suspect and I was thrilled yo find your website right away proving that this is a hoax! I thank you for doing the legwork I was setting out to do for myself! You are wonderful! I hope that if anyone is curious about purchasing this fraudulent product that they will find your page before paying for this snake oil. THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Reply
      Jordan
      April 10, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad people were able to find this and it has been helpful, and hate that these scam artists make these sites to prey on people like this.

  • Reply
    Cyrinda Martucci
    April 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I just want to say THANK YOU for doing the research on this

    • Reply
      Jordan
      April 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Thanks for your comment! This article is my most viewed blog post right now, apparently this scam has made it’s way across multiple platforms and various names. I’m glad people are questioning it and that this post can be helpful in debunking this scam!

  • Reply
    Cathy Sunday
    April 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you for the “Rant”. As network-marketer I hate when deceptive practices are use to sell a product because it makes my job harder. Furthermore, I appreciate why and how you investigated and revealed the the fallacy. I saw the is add this AM and thought something just did not look right. As I began to investigate your site was the first in Google Ad-Word search, which means a great deal about your site. Such a positive position lends itself to your creditability. So again than you and will be scribing to your recipes. Like you, I know health takes effort.

  • Reply
    Morgan
    May 3, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Hello, I actually fell for the post and purchased the product. My account was charged immediately $2.95 (which is what they say is the cost of shipping) and then an additional $3.95 as a separate transaction. Also, I never received a confirmation email, which I thought was weird. I tried to email their customer service, however the server was invalid and my email did not send, next I tried calling customer service and they said I was not in the system and never purchased the product!! Does anybody know how to cancel this before I am charged more money?

  • Reply
    Lisa Wilbert
    May 17, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you so much for your post. Unfortunately I was one of those that have tried the product with apple cider vinegar every day of course seeing no results. Went back to the site and really looked at it this time. My first clue was the comments wouldn’t allow me to leave a comment of my own and in no way were clickable. I wish this article would come when you googled “Does “this product” work or is this weight loss method productive in weight loss”? It finally came up for me when I searched “Is Cornell study on this product true”? Thank you again for writing this and publicaly calling them out!

  • Reply
    nelson
    May 19, 2017 at 7:28 am

    good job

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