Court Order Temporarily Stops California Marketer from Sending Spam Emails

Court Order Temporarily Stops California Marketer from Sending Spam Emails
Image: Pixabay
May 05, 2015

A California-based company allegedly used millions of illegal spam emails, false weight-loss claims and fake celebrity endorsements to market diet pills.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has obtained a court order temporarily stopping Sale Slash from doing business and freezing its assets.

The Commission ultimately is seeking to recover money from the defendants that would be used to provide refunds to consumers who bought the diet pills.

According to the complaint, the defendants used affiliate marketers to send illegal spam emails and post banner ads online that led consumers to fake news sites designed to appear as if an independent consumer reporter, rather than a paid advertiser, had reviewed and endorsed the products. The complaint alleges that these fake news sites made false weight-loss claims and used phony celebrity endorsements to promote the defendants' diet pills.

Since 2012, the defendants allegedly have marketed and sold a variety of products nationwide, including supposed weight-loss supplements such as Premium Green Coffee, Pure Garcinia Cambogia, Premium White Kidney Bean Extract, Pure Forskolin Extract, and Pure Caralluma Fimbriata Extract.

According to the complaint, the defendants' affiliates used stolen email user accounts to blast the users' contacts with spam containing brief messages followed by hyperlinks. Because the messages were sent to the contacts of hacked accounts, they appeared to be coming from a friend or family member instead of defendants' affiliates. The spam often contained no information about how consumers could opt out of getting future emails.

Sale Slash's affiliate marketers also placed banner ads with tips for a tiny belly and headlines that sounded like news articles.

Sale Slash paid its affiliate marketers a commission whenever consumers clicked through from a fake news website to one of the defendants' sites and bought their supplements.

For consumer information about avoiding fake news websites, visit the Trusting Your Sources page on the FTC website.