Scammers running fake news sites to boost sales

It looks like an online news story with a positive review of a health supplement or weight-loss product. But it's not. It's a fake news story on a fake news site, placed by dishonest marketers to trick you.

These bogus news stories often use (without permission) the logos of major media outlets, such as ABC, CBS, CNN and USA Today to add instant credibility.

"The scam artists are exploiting people's trust in well-known news organizations," says Steven Wernikoff with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC recently shut down six bogus news sites pitching weight-loss products made with acai berry.

"There was no reporter; there was no investigation, no dramatic weight loss and no affiliation with a reputable news source," Wernikoff says. "Essentially, everything about the sites was false."

You need to be skeptical of any news story that's trying to sell you something. Reputable news organizations do not endorse products. And they don't put links to "free trial offers" in their news stories, as these fake news stories did.

Remember: ads for bogus products show up on reputable web sites all the time. So be careful.

For more information

News Release: FTC Permanently Stops Six Operators from Using Fake News Sites that Allegedly Deceived Consumers about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products

Consumer Alert: Fake News Sites Promote Bogus Weight Loss Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements