The FTC has issued warnings about flat belly ad scams, or acai berry scams.
These scam websites appear to be legitimate news websites, often carrying logos from major news outlets like ABC, Fox, CBS, CNN, USA Today and Consumer Reports, and have false claims that reporters are testing out the products or that the products are legitimate, according to the FTC press release.
The websites often have catchy titles, such as "Acai Berry Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam?" with a purported documentation of a reporter's "investigation" into the product. Usually, the news article will claim that the reporter's testing of the product resulted in dramatic weight loss, according to the FTC press release.
The FTC says that it has already received complaints from consumers who paid upwards of $70 to $100 for trials of the acai berry product.
According to the new consumer alert, the FTC has investigated the websites and found that basically everything about or on the website are actually fraudulent.
The photos showing "dramatic" weight loss are stock photos. The claims that the products were tested are also false. And, the comments left by users are actually copied and pasted from fake websites. Pictures of "reporters" on the websites are taken from legitimate news sources.
Essentially, the "news" story about the acai berry products are not true at all, and are simply designed to lure customers into believing that the products have been legitimately tested when they have not.
The FTC has filed a request in federal court to stop the scam websites from operating, according to the FTC press release. In the meantime, consumers should be aware of the existence of the scams and take care not to believe the scam news sites' contents.
If you feel like you have been been a victim of a flat belly ad scam or acai berry scam and would like to file a complaint, contact the FTC via its online complaint form or call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP.