In more don’t-believe-everything you hear (especially on the Internet!) news, NBC News has uncovered a pretty big celeb-ad hoax—one that involves diet pills, anti-aging creams and some very convincing star-powered testimonials.
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Teaming up with MousePrint.org, a consumer advocacy group that examines the “fine print” of advertisements, NBC News reports that some not-so-trustworthy marketers are creating fake celeb news sites that also promote fake celeb endorsements.
These bunk sites look like fairly legit entertainment outlets; they are using some very real “As Seen In” logos of well-known media sites, as well as glowing reviews from Joy Behar, Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, and Meredith Vieira, to back up the product. (The View team is backing up a skin-care line called JuvaLux, according to the site.) In a separate weight-loss pill campaign, Melissa McCarthy and John Goodman are referenced.
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But one big problem: None of the stars know about the brands.
“This is out-and-out fraud,” said consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, publisher of MousePrint.org, told NBC News. “They’re using famous celebrities without their permission, publishing fake testimonials and stealing the logos of trusted news organizations to fool people.”
Bottom line: Buyer beware.
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