You might not know it, but not all celebrity endorsements are legitimate. Scammers often use false claims or a well-known person’s image in advertising to create the illusion of association. This happens without the knowledge of the celebrity.
Some shady sellers now claim their products have been endorsed by “Shark Tank” judges when they are not. Read on for ways to avoid falling for this tricky ruse.
Don’t fall for these “Shark Tank” cons
“Shark Tank” is one of the most popular shows around. There are dozens of variations globally, allowing entrepreneurs to pitch their products to a panel of celebrities or investors. If they are successful, it could mean a serious boost in their reputation.
But some scammers sidestep the TV production and pitching process. Instead, they trick people with the “Shark Tank” logo and celebrity images. Naturally, the goal is to make shoppers believe the product is endorsed by (or was featured on) “Shark Tank” to increase sales.
According to the FTC, it’s a common scam as many people don’t know if the product was actually featured on the show. “Scammers are using fake Shark Tank celebrity testimonials and endorsements – complete with doctored photos and videos – to generate buzz and profits,” the FTC explains.
How to verify “Shark Tank” products
Before you put that box of innovative socks or miracle window cleaner in your cart, how sure are you that the claims on the packaging are factual? While it is challenging to know all the products featured in the TV series, there are a few things you can look out for.
Here are some FTC suggestions to avoid “Shark Tank” scams:
- Approach celebrity testimonials with caution. Look for product reviews on your own. Search the product online and add words like “scam” or “problems” or “complaints” to see what others are saying about the products.
- Go directly to the source. Don’t click on a link or ad. Instead, check out a complete list of all businesses that have been on the show at abc.com/SharkTank.
- Remember: the government doesn’t review or evaluate supplements for safety or effectiveness before they’re put on the market. Your healthcare professional is the most important person to ask whether a supplement is safe for you. Even a natural supplement can be risky depending on your health and the medicine you take.
Have you spotted one of these bogus promotions? Report it to the FTC here to help others avoid falling victim.
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