With more Fake Celebrity Endorsement (FCE) scams popping up every day, it’s important that you, the consumer, have a good eye for separating the good from the bad. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you do your own investigations!
1. Is the celebrity holding the product or in a video mentioning the product by name?
Sure, celebrities often promote or endorse products. We’ve all seen Neil Patrick Harris in his hilarious ads for Heineken Light, Beyonce in Pepsi ads, George Clooney and Danny DeVito sipping Nespresso in the studio cafeteria, Alec Baldwin holding up his Capital One card, and sports stars plugging everything from sneakers to cereal.
The bottom line is this though, in every instance you’ll see the endorsing celebrity holding or using the product, or speaking about the product BY NAME.
I put BY NAME in CAPS because scammers are great at finding footage of celebrities talking about a generic item or topic and making it seem as though said celeb is talking about THEIR (the scammers) product.
Take Dr. Oz for example. On his show, Dr. Oz often discusses supplements in generic, informative terms and many times he goes so far as to remind his audience that he does not sell or promote these products. But anyone with an email inbox or Facebook account has almost certainly seen dozens of ads featuring Dr. Oz’s name and image in a way that intentionally makes it look like he is promoting a specific product.
These ads often feature video footage that has been carefully edited to include only the segment where he is discussing the better characteristics of the supplement and NO BRAND is mentioned. By placing that footage alongside the product being pushed, the implication is that Dr. Oz is promoting that product.
UNLESS YOU SEE OR HEAR a direct reference by the celebrity to the product being sold, BEWARE!!
2. Does the product sales pitch look like it’s on a media website?
Scammers have been trying to gain buyer confidence by creating web pages that look like recognizable media sites.
For example, this scam site is designed to look like the Cosmopolitan website. Others look like Forbes, US News & World Report, US Weekly, People Magazine, Woman’s Day, Time, CNN, ABC News, and many others.
It’s not hard to duplicate the look of a media site so don’t ever assume that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck.
REAL media sites don’t promote the hell out of a product the way these bogus sites do. I mean, when’s the last time you saw People magazine devote a full, multi-page article to promoting and selling a product? It just doesn’t happen.
CHECK THE LINKS: On these faux media sites, all links lead to the product sales page. Click on “News” and you land on the product page; click on “Beauty Tips” and you land on the product page; click on “Weather”… well, you get the point.
CHECK THE URL: The URL, or website address, is another give-away. Take a look at the graphic below.
The site is supposed to look like it belongs to Forbes magazine, but look at the URL. The Forbes site is found at www.forbes.com – this site URL is breaking.dailynewsrc.top.
Read along a bit further in the URL, and you’ll see some gibberish that includes “affID=” and “offerid=”. This is the part of the URL that shows that the page is nothing more than and ad that has been placed by an “AFFILIATE MARKETER” who is getting a nice fat percentage of all sales made through that page.
Now, I should tell you that not all affiliate programs are bad. On the contrary, companies like Amazon.com have a huge base of affiliate marketers who get a little money every time someone buys a product that they referred people to. It’s just the SMARMY ones you have to watch out for!
3. Does it seem like they’re just trying TOO DAMNED HARD to sell you on this product?
Our lives are inundated by ads, but some are just SO aggressive and, as a rule, those are the ones you have to be careful about. (And they are almost always the ones that have some kind of repeat charges associated with them.)
These folks go on-and-on-and on. I compare it to listening to someone who’s caught in a lie trying to talk their way out of it. They just keep adding layer upon layer of detail in hopes you’ll buy it.
4. When you try to leave the page is there a “WAIT – DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEAVE” pop up?
Another favorite of scammers is that last ditch effort to bring you back into the fold. Often the “wait” is accompanied by a discount offer. Just say NO!
5. Phony testimonials (a.k.a. Testi-phonials)
Most of these pages are liberally sprinkled with testimonials from excited users. They spout off about their love of the product, how it’s changed their lives, and how miserable and ______ (fill in the blank, in debt, heavy, old-looking, etc.) they were before using it. *gag*
Take a moment to look at the testimonials and, more often than not, you’ll find that they were all posted over the course of less than a week. That’s because the scammers fabricated them when they created the page. Also, be aware, that many of them pirate people’s Facebook identity to make it look like real people are making the testimonials.
Take a look at the “testi-phonial” I’ve circled in this image.
This poor woman has been inundated with messages from people who saw the comment she supposedly made and who want to ask her questions about the product(s) she love so much. The only problem is, she hasn’t actually tried or commented on any of those products.
The recently made a post to her own Facebook page in when she says, “…if ONE MORE PERSON send me this picture! Ima SCREAM!! I HAVEN’T TRIED CREAMS, PILLS, SHAKES, ETC!!!!!!!”
Other sites actually HIRE people to create testimonial videos. I kid you not. For example, a work at home scam that’s going around right now features a glowing video testimonial from the man in this picture.
Well, this man is NOT a happy customer. He actually sells video testimonials on Fiverr.com. You can see his profile here if you’re interested.
He’s not part of the scam, but he’s not helping by providing “scripted testimonials” either. Grrrr.
The information included on this website is meant for expressly educational purposes only. The advice, ideas, and views expressed on CelebriCHECK.com is based on our research of ads found across the internet and may or may not include conversations with the celebrities mentioned or their representatives.
All logos and names are respective to each company and brand, all registered trademarks and protected images are used under the terms of ‘fair use’.