SCAM ALERT: Give Secrets of the Skinny the Cold Shoulder

What would you do if you meet a new person and the first thing they say is clearly a lie?  You’d likely runaway.  Well, pretty much the first thing that Secrets of the Skinny tells you is a lie;   its alleged creator Jessica doesn’t exist.  But that’s not the only lie to which you’ll be subjected.  Our advice:  runaway!  Secrets of the Skinny mimicks the same hard-sell techniques of other Internet diet scams such as offerings like the Venus Factor Weight Loss, Trouble Spot Nutrition, The 3 Week DietThe Truth About Cellulite, Pound Melter and the Weight Destroyer, just to name a few.  Their slick websites ask for the “low price” of $25-35 for what appears to be an ebook or a “program” that “guarantees” weight loss.  This is a textbook version of the numerous other infoscams that have infected the Web over the last three years.  Secrets of the Skinny has opted to charge $27….which is pretty standard.

These marketers are offering 75% commissions to unscrupulous affiliate marketers who will parrot their claims and fake story in order to direct unwary consumers into his marketing trap. Think about this:  they offer affiliate marketers $32.74 with each new customer that they steer to Secrets of the Skinny.  (see their marketers pitch below)  How can they pay more than the $27 they ask from customers?   It’s all about upselling!  In the case of the Secrets of the Skinny, they are offering affiliate marketers $32, or about 50% of the $68.71 they expect to get you to pay.  How can they promise that?   Because they know they’ll be able to upsell — charge you for additional services — the poor folk that fall for this scam.  See this posting below from Clickbank — the company they use to sell this bogus deal:

There’s a reason this sales pitch is slick — they spend a lot of marketing money to get it to you.   Who is paying for that?  You are.   And, like many scammers, they are using Clickbank to sell their ebook so don’t assume you’ll get a refund.  “Rock solid guarantee”…..don’t bet on it.   The scammers bet on the fact that most consumers won’t seek refunds until after the 60-day period expires.   In fact, they count on it.

If you look for a review of the product, you are deluged with lots of fake review or “scam” sites that simply direct you to the main sales site or offer some officious pablum talking about how the product is highly rated or recommended.   The marketers for this service pay 75-100% commission for any referrals they generate.   So these “affiliate marketers” create create fake review sites which effectively thwart any customer who is looking for real reviews.   It is also a tactic to obscure any customers who have posted complaints or alerts about fraudulent claims.  This affiliate marketing trick makes it very difficult for consumers to detect this and other such scams,  As one persevering blogger has noted, scam artists rely upon these fraudulent reviewers to be using tags like:  “does it work?”, “is it a scam?” or “verified review” to suck unsuspecting consumers into this fraud.

Boosting Your Metabolism

The tricky being offered by Secrets of the Skinny is the claim that they’ll teach you how to boost your metabolism.    Here are scientifically proven ways to boost your metabolism:

  1. Eat more protein than simple carbs
  2. Drink more water
  3. Do High-Intensity (HIIT) workouts every other day
  4. On other days, do weigh-bearing exercises
  5. Walk a lot
  6. Drink Green Tea or Oolong Tea. …
  7. Get enough high-quality sleep
  8. Reduce stress in your life

Those tips are free and they are proven.  But Secrets of the Skinny isn’t going to level with you.  Instead, it hints at “lazy” ways that you can boost your metabolism.   You’ll spend three-six months attempting to use their “lazy” secrets only to realize they don’t work.  However, since their “guarantee” lasts only 60 days, you’ll have lost the opportunity for a refund.

How To Identify A Weight Loss Supplement Scam

Weight loss scams are nothing new. In fact, the FTC has been prosecuting false diet claims since 1927. However, the Internet has greatly accelerated the speed and impact of scammer successes by gaining access to wide audiences and making it easy for them to reap large profits.

This blog spends quite a bit of time exposing some of the worst offenders, but we’ve only scratched the surface.  Regulators have the same problem; since 2005, the FTC has brought 82 cases against scammers for using false or unsubstantiated claims about weight-loss products, and yet they continue to proliferate.  We can try to help protect you, but you’ve got to be alert to the sophisticated tricks being used by the weight-loss scammers.   Here are some red-flashing lights to alert you to a probably scam:

  • The product claims you will lose more than one pound per week. Diet experts believe about one pound per week is the ideal rate for healthy weight loss. Any product that claims it can shed weight faster is probably too good to be true.
  • The product advertises you can lose weight without diet or exercise. It’s not fun to hear, but if you really want to lose weight, a diet and exercise are the only proven and healthy paths.
  • Be alert if it claims you can lose weight from a specific part of your body, that a single factor is preventing your weight loss, and/or any advertisement using the words “miracle,” “scientific breakthrough,” or “secret formula.”
  • The pictures accompanying the ads show dramatic “Before” and “After” pictures.
  • Promises substantial weight loss no matter what or how much you eat.
  • Claims you don’t have to exercise to lose weight

The problem has gotten so severe that Congress has held formal hearings to determine whether new laws would help curtail the scourge of false advertising.   Sadly, the hearings didn’t result in any useful reforms.   But there are a number of things that YOU can do to avoid getting suckered by the weight-loss swindlers.   Just like how magicians don’t want to show you how to do a trick, the scammers don’t want you to know their tricks.   That’s why we are going to bust them and show you their tricks.

TRICK #1 –  Endorsements and Friend Referrals

Advertisers are beginning to realize that Millennials have begun to catch on to the fraudulent ads.  Most young consumers no longer trust ads — instead they rely upon referrals by their friends.    So, the Net shysters have retaliated by creating fake referrals.  That’s why many recent email scams have used Americans’ faith in their loved ones against them by hijacking email addresses to make it look like the scammers’ pitch was coming from a close friend or family member. In addition, these emails send readers to false versions of respected news websites, giving their false claims an air of objectivity, because even people who might not trust Uncle Fred’s diet tips might accept claims made by faux-journalists.

TRICK #2 – Before and After Pictures

The camera never lies….right?  You know better than that.  And when it comes to weight-loss photos and testimonials, you can be sure that the weight-loss tricksters are playing fast and loose with the camera.    Just read two stories:  one by a weight-loss model who was paid to lose weight in 30 days and one by a guy who explains how the camera can be used to fake weight loss.   You’ll never believe a Before and After picture again……nor should you.

These, and other tricks, make it possible to show a 10- to 20-pound weight loss on a scale in a matter of hours.  Dehydration techniques (fasting and spending time in a sauna) used by wrestlers and martial artists has allowed athletes (especially fighters) to lose 13 pounds in 24 hours.  But it’s simply water weight loss, and posture manipulation, both of which are temporary. Yet, these illusions helps sell thousands of weight loss gimmicks every year.

Other fraudsters will use stock photos and alter them.  If you aren’t sure if the images are authentic, use Google images to perform a reverse-image search. Google can show you all the places using a specific picture. The method for doing this varies based upon your Web browser. Just search “Reverse Image Search Google” to quickly find the instructions that will work best for you.

TRICK #3 – Fake Review Sites

If you look for a review of the product, you are deluged with lots of fake review or “scam” sites that simply direct you to the main sales site or offer some officious pablum talking about how the product is highly rated or recommended.   The marketers for this service pay 75% commission for any referrals they generate.   So these “affiliate marketers” create create fake review sites which effectively thwart any customer who is looking for real reviews.   It is also a tactic to obscure any customers who have posted complaints or alerts about fraudulent claims.  This affiliate marketing trick makes it very difficult for consumers to detect this and other such scams,  As one persevering blogger has noted, scam artists rely upon these fraudulent reviewers to be using tags like:  “does it work?”, “is it a scam?” or “verified review” to suck unsuspecting consumers into this fraud.

Totally Free Information About Weight Loss

But really, all they are selling you is some steps you can take to sleep better and reduce stress.   Duh!   But you don’t need to spend $27 on that.  There is an abundance of free or low-cost lifestyle offerings available on line.  Begin by going to this free and reputable website and then follow-up with your doctor to make sure that the diet you’ve chosen will work for you.  Another way is to use a high-protein diet or meal replacements;  that’s one of the reasons why the Paleo Diet has proven so effective.

The most successful weight loss plans change your lifestyle, and not just your calories.  Perhaps most importantly, these are free or low-cost diets available on line.  Please know that no matter how well-intentioned you are, without a commitment to exercise and substantial lifestyle changes, you likely won’t succeed in maintaining any weight loss.  And if you have that commitment or will-power, then just about ANY diet will succeed.   You don’t have to pay $27 for the information.    Begin by going to the Mayo Clinic’s free and reputable website.  The medical experts at the Clinic have fashioned a thoughtful and time-tested plan that has worked for untold numbers of people.  Then follow-up with your doctor to make sure that the diet you’ve chosen will work for you.

Here are some additional free and reputable dieting and weight-loss resources for you on the Net:

Smart for Life

Livestrong Diet –  Aims for a loss of about 1-2 pounds per week.

GM Diet  –  It’s not really a General Motors-designed diet plan.  It’s actually a short one-week detox program.   But it could be a useful starter to a major personal diet reboot.  Linora Low gives a helpful (and free)  step-by-step video and written guide to how to do this detox program.

The Lose Weight Diet –  It does what many of the diet scammers do (take free  information and distill it down to 3 easily understood phases) but he actually offers it for free!

Try Betting On Yourself Rather Than Giving These Slimy Marketers Your Money

Some people actually MAKE more money if they lose weight.  One relatively novel idea is that you make a bet.  You don’t even have to go to Lost Wages, Nevada to make this wager.  Try HealthyWage.   It turns out that if you put some money on the line, there’s a demonstrably higher likelihood that you’ll meet your goals.  For real.   At Healthy Wage, you can build your own weight loss challenge and, if you meet it, you can actually win more money than you paid out for the bet.   This is a real and apparently effective means of losing weight, so long as your goal is more than 10% of your body weight.

In 2013, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study on 100 participants, divided into four groups. All of them were tasked to lose up to 4 pounds per month for a year. Two groups (the incentive groups) were paid $20 per month if they met the goal, while those who failed had to pay $20 penalty.  62% of the group that had a monetary incentive succeeded, versus 26% where there were no incentives.   Similarly, the dieters who were paid to lose lost over 9 lbs, on average.  The ones who didn’t only lost about 2 lbs.   So incentives work and Healthy Wage gives you a means of creating your own incentives.  If you choose to use this resource, check out the tips on how best to use Healthy Wage.

Our Bottom Line

You don’t have to spend $27 to get information about how to sleep better (couched in ways to make you think you’ll lose weight). And beware ANY Net-based sales pitch that has uncredentialed, slick presentation with no independent reviews. It may not be a scam, but it is probably a rip-off because it is overpriced for what it is offering.   In this case, there’s lots of good diet information in the marketplace offered at a fraction of the cost of most weight loss schemes.  Save your hard-earned money.

One additional warning:  once you give them your money, you’ll be tagged as “meat”.  Once they know that you’ll fall for this pitch, the same marketers will be coming back to you over and over and over for other such pitches.   Understand that if you pay these marketers anything….let alone $27…..they’ll continue to hound you with more slick schemes designed to prey on your fears and concerns.  Don’t open your door or wallet to them.

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