Diet pill scammers pretend to be Channel 8 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Diet pill scammers pretend to be Channel 8

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By News 8 Reporter Craig McKee

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - When we first heard about someone potentially scamming viewers under the guise of News 8, we were curious, but quickly began to unravel the mystery.

The website looks real enough, promoted as Channel 8 Health News and San Diego listed as the location. There's the Health Team and even the investigative reporter Julie Ayers who says in the article "we here at Channel 8 are a little skeptical" about the Acai Berry Diet, but later says "People really are finding success with it."

I've been doing some searching through all our photos of employees here at KFMB and you know what, I can't find a Julie Ayers. In fact there's never been a Julie Ayers who ever worked at KFMB. After a little searching online we found out that Julie Ayers has a couple different names like Amy, Julia Miller, Samantha Whyte, Gina Miller, Julia Sandler, and Karen Simpson.

"Anyone can do this within a matter of minutes. It's exactly the same several different versions --just take out the 8 put a 5 in, take out the 5 put a 7, and they can throw it up and say it's in a bunch of different markets," KFMB Interactive Director Mitch Gruber said.

And we found a bunch of them, with the wording and same reporter picture at a different station, but the same push that the news organization tested the diet and there was success. But If you take the time to really look at the site, you will notice something I missed and Mitch pointed out: the word "advertorial" posted at the very top of the page.

"That's their way of covering their bases, saying hey we're not faking a news organization, this is an advertorial piece tied to a made-up Channel 8, which just happens to be in San Diego, of course," Gruber said.

If in doubt, turn to Google, search for the specific offer and type the word "scam" in with it to see if others have filed complaints.

The site we looked at links off to another site that offers the diet for a trial membership period, but then begins charging you $79.99 per month after that trial. Online posts indicate it's extremely difficult to cancel the membership.

All in all, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

If you ever see something that references an endorsement by News 8, KFMB or Jack FM, we encourage you to contact us here at the station or through our website, CBS8.com to verify the validity before taking part.

We tried to track down the person responsible for the site, but the domain registrar information could not be verified.

 

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