Ad Alert


Fake news site selling skin cream has a fair amount of wrinkles.

When an email with the subject “Look 1O years younger in weeks” recently surfaced in our inbox, we had a hunch that it might lead to an ad alert — and not only because the author apparently confused the letter “O” with the number “0.” No, our doubts — which proved well-founded — had more to do with the audacious anti-aging claim that one could actually turn back the biological clock 10 years in the time it takes the New York Jets to go 0-2.

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The email pushed a “risk-free trial” of Neutratone, which is a skin cream said to smooth out wrinkles by burning the underlying fat “like a furnace.” It promised “dramatic results in just days” (hey, that’s better than weeks) and linked to a website where one ostensibly could cash in on the “risk-free trial.”

And that’s where we found our smoking gun: A fake news site. And this one, my friends, had all the fixings, including:

  • A false affiliation with a fictional magazine called Healthy Mom Daily. We clicked on the link to subscribe for “(o)nly 99¢ an issue” and were instead led to a page that asked where to send the trial offer of Neutratone (more on the potential financial pitfalls of this so-called “risk-free trial” offer to come).
  • Before-and-after photos that purport to show the skin-tightening effects of Neutratone but that are plastered all over the Internet on the websites of various skin care products. The photos and names of happy customers in the comments section also appear elsewhere on the web, including on the site, which pushes its own too-good-to-be-true wellness products.
  • An admission in a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that the “story depicted on this site and the person depicted in the story are not real unless stated otherwise.”
  • An apparent endorsement from the one and only Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Now, about that “risk-free trial.” Thing is, it’s a tad risky. The 45-day supply of Neutratone for which you initially only have to pay $1.99 shipping and processing is tied to a negative-option offer that will continuously bill you $79.95 if you don’t cancel future shipments within 14 days of receipt and then ship back the goods, according to the website’s Terms of Service.

This is not the first encounter has had with fake news sites selling questionable products. Find more of our coverage on this particular type of advertising here.

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