In this post, I have purposefully avoided taking names of particular companies or brands except one.
- Look at their ad
Now, in this photo, you don’t know whether it’s shown for representation purpose or is it real transformation with this oil. End user doesn’t know and because end user is usually naive, he/she believes this photo as a Testimonial.
Many would click the AD because they would see this photo and believe they are going to see this kind of transformation with this Oil. If they are using photos of a real person in the ad who have seen the results, then that shouldn’t really be a problem
In this ad, they are not technically lying but they are not telling the truth either.
2. Clinical Trials but no proof
This company claims their product grew hair in 85% of them so where are those clinical studies ? Where are the links so I can read them ?
You won’t find them because there are NO clinical studies.
There are many hair loss supplements which talk about their supplements passing clinical trials but if you don’t find them on their website, then their claims are totally fake and based and based on where they are located, they can get into deep trouble.
Here are supplements which actually did clinical trials.
Here is one for Jigsaw Magnesium
Here is one for OptiMSM
I found this before after photo on one of the websites selling hair oil, so I just thought of doing reverse image search on person who posted the testimonial.
If it’s a product/service, if you see the photos, your job is to do reverse image search first.
4. Ways to contact them
Try to find their email address. Have they given it somewhere or they are actively trying to hide it ?
No Phone Number
Try to see if they have provided their phone number. If yes, call on it and see if anyone picks up the phone or respond to the message. Try it multiple times, if they respond to any of that or if you see automated voice message, then it’s time you should be careful.
Fake Video Testimonials
It’s easy to figure out. From their body language, voice tone, face expressions. Some fake product developers hire actors to make it look like a genuine testimonial. I can figure out such testimonials from a mile away. You may not, so sometimes it’s better to trust your gut feeling. If you don’t feel right, don’t buy that product or service.
Fraud companies like these change their product names and company names to save themselves from Legal Action.
Few other ways to spot SCAM or Fraud
Look at the customer service
See how they treat their customers, how they respond to their questions, how they address their questions/concerns, see their fulfilment service etc etc.
Responding to emails
Ask them a question over email and see how long they did take to respond ? Use Boomerang to check if they actually read your mail or not. If they don’t, gently follow up with them. Email them 4-5 times over the period of few weeks, if they read emails but don’t respond back, then don’t purchase from them.
Responding to Messages
If you have queries or questions or want help with after sales service, if they are hardly available to answer your questions, that’s a Red Flag.
Responding to calls
Call them, preferably 3-5 times at different times, on different days. Give them some benefit of doubt. If they don’t call back or if they respond through other mode of communication, it’s another red flag.
5. Look at Refund service
See whether they actually refund or not, if yes, how much do they refund ?
Ask them about refund. When do they provide refund ? How much refund do they provide ? On what criteria they provide refund ?
Also check if they actually provide refund or not, if yes, in how many days ?
It’s often tricky, difficult or time consuming but in order not to get scammed, you have to do the due diligence..
Some might have strong refund policy saying that if you follow this and do this and don’t see the results, we will give all the money back, some have very weak refund policy.
If they have guts to give guarantee almost everyone in the market is terrified to give and if they actually live up to it…That’s indication of great product/service.
(This is example of specific and strong guarantee, although it’s not from any hair loss product/service)
There are few things you can do to ensure you will not get scammed
- Email/Call/Ask for Trial if it’s oil/topical
- Check Person/Company on Google/Social Media, check for Complaint, Check Forum/Youtube
- Reference Check (from a trusted friend) or someone you can talk/chat/email/meet
- Mystery Shop. Call them, email them and place an enquiry or order and see if you can manage to spot any suspicious behaviour.
- Reverse Image Search : Whatever photos they give, always run reverse image search on various websites. If you find those photos on other websites, you got your answer.
- Unverifiable Mentions (or Paid mentions) : See if the video testimonials or those who have been mentioned as Testimonials are real people or not.
- Unverifiable Clinical Trials : If you don’t find any document verifying clinical results, then it’s a big SHAM.
- Gut Feeling : Despite doing all due diligence, it’s still possible that you will get cheated by some clever machinations of evil fraudster, always trust your gut feelings.