Don’t waste your money on this garbage.

Every time I see a new scam for weight loss, I shed a tear for the people who are taken in. But when I see major retailers pushing snake oil, the tears dry up and are replaced with fiery heat under my collar.

Saw this at Walmart the other day – absolutely nothing new here, they’ve been doing this for a long time, but this is the latest example.

Scam 3

There’s no excuse for this. It’s taking advantage of people who are trying to release weight, selling them something that is just as valuable as the gravel in their driveways.

There is no magic bullet.

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away: “Kelli used C. canephora robusta with diet and exercise and has been remunerated. Average weight loss with C. canephora robusta was 10.95 lbs in 60 days with a low-calorie diet and 3.7 lbs in 8 weeks with a calorie-reduced diet and moderate exercise.”

Scam 0

Do you happen to detect a trend here? As I mentioned in an earlier post, reducing caloric intake and increasing caloric consumption (i.e. exercise) will cause you to release weight even if you:

  • Take HydroxyCut
  • take homeopathic drops
  • sing an aria from “Aida”
  • stand on your head and spit nickels, or
  • eat a spoonful of Portland cement with each meal.

If  you weren’t sure, C. canephora robusta is also known as “robusta coffee,” a cousin to arabica coffee, and is often used in espresso because of its stronger flavor and increased bitterness.

Coffee. Trying to recycle the “green coffee extract” scam. Let’s look at all the ingredients:


You can see that what you’re getting is basically caffeine and some other random herbs. And for weight release, it’s junk. It doesn’t work. And they know it.

To release weight, eat less and/or exercise more, preferably both. If you set up a consistent caloric deficit, you’ll gradually release weight in a healthy way (unless you really have a medical condition preventing it, in which case see your physician.) Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s hard; as I saw posted by a Facebook friend just today:


And that’s another conversation. But don’t waste your money at Walmart or elsewhere on this worthless garbage.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

No, Virginia, “brain booster” pills don’t work.

I have inveighed many times against the deceptive nature of affiliate marketing. It’s getting worse all the time, and otherwise legitimate entities are promoting it by allowing anybody and their capybara to inject ads onto their websites. It’s all about the revenue.

Newser™ used to be one of my favorite news aggregator sites, but my enthusiam began waning when their site became jugged with deceptive advertising, and my patience finally snapped when they added code to create popup tabs and randomly switch me to unwanted articles.


This one, which I had mentioned before, popped up again. It infuriates me, because people are going to believe this camel ejecta, and waste their money on worthless garbage. Instead of “BrainStorm Elite” or “IQ+,” it’s now called “Intelleral” – and it’s not much more than what they flufferously designate as WGCP (whole green coffee powder), meaning NoDoz™ would be just as effective because it’s nothing more than caffeine.

Take note:

  • Stephen Hawking does not say anything about Intelleral or anything else doubling your IQ.
  • The advertisement server is smart enough to know that I’m browsing from Maine, and it injects that state into the headline.
  • Anderson Cooper’s interview has nothing to do with any products.
  • I believe that Intelleral is worthless garbage, and its manufacturers are – in my humble opinion – criminal scum.

So let’s say you’re curious and google something like “intelleral scam.”


Take note that almost every one of these results is the result of an affiliate marketer’s campaign. The red WOT circles are also a good indication that these websites are deceptive and potentially dangerous.

An example: the last link on the list purports to warn you about the side effects and cost of Intelleral. And it’s nothing more than a page promoting the product:


How much more deceptive can you get than this? Why would you buy a product that’s so dishonestly promoted, even if it worked… which it doesn’t.

One customer wasn’t too happy… among countless:

This product is a scam
By [redacted], Canton, NC, Jan 6, 2017
I ordered Intelleral due to the wonderful advertisement and testimonies by several famous people. I have taken this for a couple of weeks with no noticeable positive effect.

I was checking my credit card this morning and noticed two different charges pending for the two trial items I ordered from the Intelleral website. I did not request future orders. I was billed $64.95 and then $69.95 (charges pending).I contacted my credit card company to dispute this.

Do not order from these people.

You notice her complaint about the extra charges? That’s standard operating procedure for these slimy bottom-feeders. Have a look at their “terms,” which you have to click through to read:

2.1 By placing your order you will be receiving a 14 day evaluation of for the price of $4.95! We stand by our satisfaction Guarantee and our friendly customer service. You will also be enrolling into our convenient auto ship program once your evaluation expires. You understand that you are subscribing to a monthly shipment program and you will be charged $89.99 per month starting 14 days from today and every 30 days thereafter unless cancelled. You also understand that you can cancel at any time, subject to the provisions of section 3, without further obligation by calling 888-298-0291, Monday – Friday between the hours of 9am-5pm MST. Your transaction will appear on your credit card statement as “”. You will recieve your package within 2-5 business days of each payment. Please allow 2-5 Business days for your initial Bottle.

There’s a lot more if you have the stomach to read it. You thought you were paying $4.95 for a trial, but you were actually obligating yourself to shell out $90 bucks a month for this snake oil, and good luck getting a refund from these weasels.

Best solution: TURN AROUND, RUN AWAY, DON’T LOOK BACK. Do not buy this or anything like it that sounds too good to be true, because it is.

Selling Snake Oil with Name-Dropping.

I don’t like scammers. I don’t like woo-peddlers. I don’t like people who take advantage of the gullible and/or the vulnerable to make money at any cost. I’ve written numerous times about snake-oil sales, and even got a cease-and-desist letter from some law firm because the manufacturer didn’t like being called a scumball.

But they’re still at it.

Back in 2015, Forbes wrote a legitimate article about “How Fake News Articles And Lies About Billionaires Were Used To Market An Iffy Dietary Supplement.” Forbes complained and followed up, and the spurious website vanished, the cockroaches scurrying back into the darkness that spawned them.

For what it’s worth, the crooks didn’t focus on Forbes, they also used CNN and probably many others to hawk their garbage.

The thing about cockroaches, however, is that they keep coming back; if anyone survives a nuclear winter, it will be these creatures. There’s enough money to be made selling worthless nostrums that the scammers can easily afford to reformulate and resurface. and the immense potential for fraud inherent in affiliate marketing (which I elaborated on here) means that this plague will be a difficult one to eradicate.

I keep getting popup tabs when I visit, and this is a recent one:


The name of the junk product has changed – instead of BrainStorm Elite it’s now IQ+, and the source of the farticle (fake article, or advertorial) is, a website that has nothing to do with Forbes.

It goes without saying that the product is worthless, Hawking has nothing to do with this junk, and the interview with Anderson Cooper is being spun to appear as if it’s endorsing this particular product – which it’s not.

The IQ+ website looks really slick, includes the standard Quack Miranda¹, and after you give them your information and click the big red “Rush My Order!” button, you are taken to the confirmation page where you provide your all-important credit card information. That page also includes this text:


That’s exactly how it looks, and is so easy to miss that most people won’t read it, which is what the bottom-feeders are hoping for. If you do click the Terms and Conditions, you find the industry-standard “gotcha” clause:

In-Trial Offer: A trial offer provides the customer an opportunity to try our product free of charge for 14 days from date of order, paying only shipping and handling fees of $4.98(USD). At the conclusion of the trial period, you will be billed the full purchase price of $89.97(USD) and enrolled in the monthly replenishment program.

So that special price of $4.98 is really $94.95, and you will be billed $89.97 every 30 days because you signed up (without reading the details) for their convenient auto-ship program. You can make a Wreave bet² on the fact that getting a refund for unexpected charges to your credit card will be harder than pulling hen’s teeth – their agents will be trained to make it nearly impossible to get your money back without the threat of legal action.  This is how the kiz-eaters make their money, and frankly, Scarlet, it stinks.

I notified Forbes of the most recent iteration of this scam, and hopefully they’ll look into it. As mentioned before, there’s so much money to be made with scams of this nature that they’ll be back . I have no illusions that my little essays will do anything to stem the tide, but if even one person reads them and saves their money, it will have been worth it.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


¹ The “Quack Miranda” warning is required by the FDA on all nutritional supplements, some of which have proven value. The appearance of the standard wording does not mean a product is worthless, but a huge percentage of the garbage sold by nutritional companies have dubious value and all must carry the disclaimer.

² The Wreaves are a part of Frank Herbert’s ConSentiency universe. Their strict code of honor prevents them from gambling, hence a “Wreave bet” is a sure thing.

ProBioSlim: I’m not the only one who’s calling bullshit.

Just have a look here, the website of Diet Pills Watchdog.


I love the Pros: “May not cause too many side effects.” Well, that’s reassuring.  Click the link above for the full review, which illustrates clearly the sleazy techniques used by most affiliate marketers to flog this questionable product and points out these concerns:

Probioslim Concerns:

  • Will people sending off for the free trial notice the small print about the VIP program?

  • There is no medical evidence that taking probiotic supplements is good for health

  • Potentially dangerous if you have a weakened immune system

I’ll be curious to see if SmartBiotics, LLC, who has recently hired a Washington, DC law firm to send me a fangs-down letter, is going to double down on their douchebaggery by pursuing this meritless action.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

ProBioSlim: I got someone really mad. My first “cease and desist” letter.


As anyone who follows my blog knows, I have been quite active in warning people against sweepstakes fraud, Nigerian scam letters, and other types of jiggery-pokery, including nutritional scams like the Acai berry, Forskolin, Green Coffee Extract, Garcinia Cambogia, and others – most of which are relentlessly flogged by affiliate marketers including the infamous Dr. Oz.

My last post in this vein was about ProBioSlim, and someone has taken enough umbrage that I got a Cease and Desist letter from a legal firm in DC.

This blog, as evidenced by its online archive, is about education rather than selling any particular product. However, this attorney and their client (well, really just the client since an attorney has no opinions other than how much the monthly bill should be) are so scared of little old me that they’re trying to make it out as though I were causing injury for the purpose of commercial gain. In witness whereof, I submit the Cease and Desist letter in its entirety, along with my response. You decide for yourself.

Here the letter from the law firm, redacted only for some PII:

September 1, 2015


OCH Distributing

Re: Defamation and Commercial Disparagement: Your Statements at

Dear [Sir]:

We are writing on behalf of our client, SmartBiotics, LLC, concerning a recent post you appear to have made at latest-affiliate-marketing-scam/ pertaining to our client’s ProbioSlim product and its marketing thereof. A copy of the post at issue is enclosed. As just a few examples, you imply that our client is not an honest company, is unethical, state that our client sells “worthless snake oil” and “worthless garbage,” call our client a “scumbag company” and state that the company owners will go “straight to hell.” Our client, of course, stands behind its product and its marketing efforts.

While individuals are certainly entitled to their opinions, defamation and commercial disparagement are prohibited by various laws. Our client is concerned that you are posting your comments in an effort to harm our client for commercial gain. (Emphasis mine)

Upon brief investigation, it appears that you own OCH Distributing, and at your company website at, you indicate that you sell a product that helps with weight release or weight loss. A copy of this webpage is enclosed. It also appears that, at this same website, at, you sell products including a book entitled “Releasing Fat.” A copy of this webpage is enclosed. Further at your personal website at, you indicate that you are a distributor for USANA Health Sciences and advertise USANA’s products as “The World’s Best Nutritional Supplements.” Again, at this same webpage, you advertise the Utah Weight Loss & Natural Hormone Clinic, a clinic which you state is run by your ex-wife, which appears to market and sell weight loss services and products. A copy of this webpage is also enclosed.

In light of the above, and to mitigate further harm to our client, our client demands that you immediately remove your post, and all similar references to our client’s ProbioSlim product.

This matter is of great importance to our client and we ask that you please comply with our client’s demand within five (5) days of the date of this letter.

We recommend that you discuss this matter with your attorneys.

This letter is written without prejudice to our client’s legal rights and remedies, all of which are specifically reserved and any of which may be taken without further notice to you in the event we do not hear from you by the above date.


And here, for your gratuitous edification, is my response:

September 1, 2015

Dear [Attorney]:

Wow. My first C&D letter in 10 years of doing business. I’m flattered.

Executive summary: I respectfully decline to change a word of my blog. I stand by it.

Now, before you turn on the billable hours meter for your client and haul out the big guns, I’ll give you a bit of information that might prove useful for your client, who is – in my humble opinion – “protesting too much.” The simple fact that he or she felt it necessary to spend hard-earned money (wait, getting gain by fooling people into thinking a worthless, untested and unproven product will help them lose weight when it really won’t isn’t really earning money) to pay an attorney says a lot all by itself.

First of all, my blog is an equal-opportunity disparager. Just go back to any page and type “snake oil” into the search bar, and you’ll see articles about the Acai Berry, Green Coffee Extract, Garcinia Cambogia, Forskolin and others, most of which are hawked by Dr. Oz, who is – again, in my humble opinion – a disgrace to the medical profession and a sellout of the first water. ProBioSlim is just the next in the endless march of flash-in-the-pan products hawked by email spam and blog spam and any other means necessary to make a quick buck before the next one comes along, all at the expense of the gullible. Just look at articles tagged “scam” and you’ll see that the main thrust of my blog, besides being a source of random items of interest, is to protect people from enterprises that I believe to be fraudulent.

Next, let’s look at your letter in detail.

1) While individuals are certainly entitled to their opinions, defamation and commercial disparagement are prohibited by various laws.

Indeed they are. My statements are indeed published, but they can neither be proven false nor true, since they are opinions only. Nor can they be proven to be injurious, any more than a website such as Whether or not they are privileged is anyone’s guess, but since two of four conditions will invariably fail to be met, that final point is moot.

2) At your company website at, you indicate that you sell a product that helps with weight release or weight loss.

This is a true statement. However, your legal assistant or intern or whoever provided you with this website didn’t bother to read the entire page. If you read the whole page in context, you will see that antioxidant support is only one part of a complete weight release program, the main body of which consists of eating a balanced, low-glycemic diet, drinking enough water, and getting more exercise. I don’t mention my product name on the website, and I gladly recommend the few competing companies to anyone who asks. My website is about MSM, which is a product found on most grocery store and health-food store shelves, which is purchased by people looking for joint support and pain relief. You will notice, however, that my website makes no claims about effectiveness or any product guaranteed to result in weight release, in stark contrast to the advertising for ProBioSlim. I quote from the relevant web page which you referenced:

Get adequate vitamin support. Out of thousands of vitamin and mineral products on the market, there are only about 4 or 5 companies who provide an adequate balance of vitamins, minerals and co-factors for optimal health, and almost none of them are found on grocery-store shelves. We can provide you with one of them. If you’re interested, contact us. But do your research. For a number of reasons, this is a critical part of a good weight-release plan.

It would also pay you to read this page from my blog:

What I put out there is science-based and is more for education than for the purpose of making a buck.

3) It also appears that, at this same website, at, you sell products including a book entitled “Releasing Fat.”

Also true. In this book, Dr. Ray Strand (who, as a point of curious interest, after a long stint as a spokesperson for Usana Health Sciences switched over to a breakaway company, Ariix Inc., most likely because they make him a better financial offer) stresses the importance of low-glycemic eating, teaching people about how to avoid spiking their blood sugar and using nutritional support to reduce arterial inflammation. It’s a good read, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to release weight. Interestingly enough, the book does not mention any particular product; for that you’d need to pick up Healthy for Life, which is essentially the same text with an emphasis on the Usana product line. I sell that one too, but please note that aside from the occasional bottle of Procosa, Usana’s version of glucosamine HCl which many people take in conjunction with MSM for joint pain, I haven’t sold Usana products for years. Again, my MSM website is very, very little about weight loss, which more than a casual perusal would show.

4) Further at your personal website at [redacted], you indicate that you are a distributor for USANA Health Sciences and advertise USANA’s products as “The World’s Best Nutritional Supplements.” Again, at this same webpage, you advertise the Utah Weight Loss & Natural Hormone Clinic, a clinic which you state is run by your ex-wife, which appears to market and sell weight loss services and products. A copy of this webpage is also enclosed.

Both correct. I still recommend USANA products to anyone who asks because I believe that along with Douglas Laboratories and a few others, they put out high-quality nutritional products that – unlike most of the garbage sold at GNC and other stores (Ref: – actually contain what they say they do. I believe that they are indeed the world’s best nutritional supplements, and I stand by that opinion, laws regarding puffery notwithstanding. That said, as indicated in No. 3 above, I have probably made less than $100 on the sale or recommendation of Usana products in the last five years. And yes, I have documentation. Hardly a thriving enterprise, and hardly a threat to anyone. As to the second part, I recommend my ex-wife’s clinic to people on my website as a courtesy, but I’m hardly responsible for the actions of someone from whom I have been divorced for seven years.

Lastly, I recommend that you read this page from my website: It says everything, in plain text and with no prevarication, that I care to say about the nutritional market landscape.

Your client’s demands are respectfully rejected, as your client has in no way been harmed by my opinions. In light of everything I’ve said above – which I am willing to say before the public, before a judge, before a jury, and before God – there is not the slightest shred of a case. Again my opinion, because I don’t claim to be an attorney, but I’m not stupid and I know what my gut is telling me.

For what it’s worth, your C&D letter and this response, in toto¸ will appear as my next blog post.

Respectfully submitted,

Owner, OCH Distributing

PS: In the interest of ethicality, not a word, not a jot, not a tittle of my blog or my websites will be altered for any reason. I have nothing to hide.

So now we wait. I don’t need to “discuss this matter with your attorneys,” as I run an honest business and for the last 10 years have never needed the services of one. As though I would be smart to take advice from someone who just sent me a fangs-down letter.

I’ll keep you posted.

Edit: 10/5/2017 – Two years and a month later… nothing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Probioslim: The latest affiliate marketing scam.


It starts with spam. That’s the first indication that whatever product or service being hawked is ineffective, undesirable, dangerous, or unethical. Honest companies just don’t spam.

From: “ProbioSlim” <>
To: redacted
Subject: No more pho | ny d | i••et plans
  1. Notice the subject line with the crap in it. Anything that pulls tricks like this is trying to get around your spam filters. This screams “unethical.”
  2. Next, the alphabet-soup return address, almost assuredly bogus.
  3. Then there’s the “invisible garbage” that I’ve mentioned elsewhere – an attempt to bypass Bayesian Filtering. Another hallmark of criminal scum who want your money at all costs.

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Lastly, the offer of a “free sample” that is never, ever free.

Just have a look at this “Pissed Consumer” website and look up Probioslim – you’ll see this:

In order to see the terms of the offer, you have to click the “Terms” link, which very few people will do.

How Does the VIP Membership Offer Work?

A. You must pay a shipping and handling fee of $2.99 for us to send you a 14-day trial supply of ProbioSlim. We ship the product the day after you place your order (with the exception that orders placed Friday-Sunday will be shipped the following Monday). We allow up to 4 days for you to receive the trial supply. Thus, in order for you to have 14 days to try the product, we consider the end date for your trial period to be 18 days after you place your order, which is 14 days plus 4 days for processing and transit.

B. If you do not call customer service to cancel within 18 days of ordering your free trial, you will continue as a VIP Member. See details below.

VIP Membership

Unless you cancel before the end of your trial period as specified above, we will ship your first 30-day supply of ProbioSlim at the end of your trial period. Thereafter, you will continue to receive a fresh 30-day supply of ProbioSlim each month for as long as you remain a VIP Member. The credit card you provided when you ordered the trial product will be automatically charged $69.99 plus $4.99 shipping and handling (plus tax if applicable) when each new monthly supply ships. To cancel future shipments, you must call 1-877-869-3308 at least 1 day prior to the date that your next monthly delivery ships. Customers in Australia, please call us at 1800-198-226. Customers in the United Kingdom, please call us at 0808-1019281. Our customer service center is open Mon-Fri: 9am – 9pm Eastern Time (US) and Sat: 12pm – 5pm Eastern Time (US).

Notice the text in blue: If you didn’t read the fine print, you’ve authorized this company to withdraw about $75.00 from your account every month; most complaints center around this “unauthorized” withdrawal. Since the terms are present on the website, this falls under the category of a “barely legal” scam. Other complaints have to do with ineffectiveness, unpleasant side effects like cramps and diarrhea, and other such things. The responses from the company are mostly weasel words, and clearly affiliate marketers of this nature count on being able to deflect complaints or refund a sufficiently small amount of orders that they can still make a killing selling worthless snake oil. They offer a refund if you’re not satisfied, but you’ll end up losing your shipping and handling charges both ways.

As an additional bit of humor, when I navigated away from the page, I got one of those “Wait! An agent wants to chat with you” popups. So just for fun, here’s the exchange with “Kelsey:”

Kelsey Says: Hi there! Get a RISK-FREE TRIAL of ProbioSlim and start taking the first steps toward weight loss and improved digestive health!
CLICK HERE to receive a 14 day trial supply of ProbioSlim.
Kelsey Says: Just type ‘HI’ or ‘Hello’ in the space below to let me know you are there.
You: Hi
Kelsey Says: Hi, thanks for chatting with me today. Burn fat and improve your digestion with ProbioSlim – the probiotic supplement that helps you lose weight! CLICK HERE to receive a 14 day trial supply of ProbioSlim.
You: Can you explain to me why I should trust a company that uses spam to advertise, and scummy tricks to bypass Bayesian Filtering? This screams “unethical.” Why should I trust their product?
Kelsey Says: This is not a scam. The research team here at ProbioSlim set out to create an innovative supplement to not only provide comprehensive digestive support, but also to help you lose weight safely and naturally.
Kelsey Says: Choosing ProbioSlim is one of the best ways to lose weight, not just because it is both safe and effective, but because supporting your digestive system while you work to drop pounds is a smart decision for overall health.
You: Well, that wasn’t an answer to my question. Care to try again?
Kelsey Says: I am sorry, I only have limited information. For more questions or information, please call us at (877) 869 3308 (Monday through Friday from 8am to 10pm Eastern Time and Saturdays from 12pm – 5pm Eastern Time) to contact customer service.
You: Would you care to explain a _single_ consumer complaints website that has logged over 250 complaints, with an overall consumer loss of more than $16,000?
Kelsey Says: This is the best offer available. But it’s for a limited time only. Please don’t wait! CLICK HERE to take advantage of this amazing offer!
You: Why do I get the feeling that you have failed the Turing Test?
Kelsey Says: Get a RISK-FREE TRIAL of ProbioSlim for FREE!! All you need is to pay a shipping and handling fee $4.99. CLICK HERE to get started!
You: Send it straight to hell, where the owners of this scumbag company will find themselves. Does that work for you?
Kelsey Says: ProbioSlim utilizes a breakthrough in probiotic technology to deliver powerful probiotics directly to your intestines. Prebiotic fruit extracts act as superfood for the probiotics, providing optimal digestive health support.
You: Ooookayyyy…
Kelsey Says: Okay great. CLICK HERE and let us know where to send your free sample!

Don’t you just love conversing with a bot?

Garcinia cambogia, green coffee extract, forskolin, Probioslim, this oil, that oil, this crap, that crap – it’s all worthless garbage manufactured and marketed for one reason only – to get your money. None of it works or has any real benefit. Stay far away from “offers” like this.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Woo Water

Visitng a LYS (Local Yarn Shop) in Logan, Utah, I had a glance at the April 2, 2015 edition of Time™ while my wife was finishing up her browsing.

And once again it was confirmed that there’s a sucker born every minute.

Producers try to replicate the success of coconut water

Coconut water, the trendy sports drink that’s exploded into a $400 million-a-year business in the U.S., has new competition. Bottled-water outfits are trying to sell consumers on H2O with vegetables, tree saps and other flavored ingredients. Startups and small companies especially are marketing a raft of new products spiked with a little extra…

Coconut water? I had never heard of such a thing. But have a look at all the wannabes who are jumping on the money train:


©Time Magazine

Claims, claims, claims! Improves digestion, soothes sore throats, revitalizes, liver detox, hangover relief, woo, woo, woo! In today’s atmosphere of anti-science and galloping gullibility, there is more opportunity to profit from the ignorance of the masses than ever. Plus ça change…

Edit: Props to Sharon Neeman for catching an error: Victoria’s Kitchen Almond water makes no claims at all, except that it’s delicious and refreshing, which I could certainly get behind if that sort of thing appealed to me.


Lucky Luke, “À l’ombre des derricks”

Snake oil salesmen and purveyors of medical quackery have been around since the dawn of time, but let marketing departments get a whiff of a trend, and the trickle becomes a deluge.

I have nothing against natural remedies per se, and have expanded on this topic in other articles. What I do object to is pure

BS Meter

which these products are, and I recommend that you save your money.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Please do not share from these 10 Websites or Facebook Pages

This is a condensation of an excellent article from DawnsBrain. I’ve summarized the ten here for easy consumption, but her complete article is worth a read.


☛ TL;DR – these websites promote pseudoscientific woo¹, and are dangerous in that they lead people to shun and be afraid of science-based health and medicine. ☚

10) Alex Jones

Mr. Jones uses a ton of hyperbole, conspiracy theories, and a loose connection to reality, to whip up fear and loathing in his audience.

9) The Food Babe

Ms. Hari, the “Food Babe”, parrots Dr. Mercola and cobbles together cherry-picked blurbs from questionable studies and Wikipedia. She uses the term “investigation” to excuse the fact that she often gives medical advice without having any education in the life sciences. She picks the weirdest ingredients to go after.

#8 Eat Clean. Train Mean. Live Green.

Ms. McDonald mixes some common-sense dietary advice with a shot of “detox” and disordered eating, GMO and fluoride fearmongering, and pondering about chemtrails. She even claims that honey is medicine. Proof that even registered dietitians can be wacko.

#7 Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Mercola, by virtue of his credentials and large fanbase, is possibly one of the most dangerous people on Facebook. Because he generates fear around science-based medicine, he discourages people from seeking real help for illness. He also scares people away from vaccinations, fluoride, GMO food, pasteurized dairy, and dental fillings. But you know, buy his line of supplements and all will be well.

#6 Prevention Magazine

Everyone that promotes “natural cures” above all else seems to jump from one cure-all to another. WebMD specifically states that there is insufficient evidence for at least three items on their list.

#5 is arguably the most balls-to-the-wall looniest page on Facebook. They have never met a conspiracy theory they don’t love.

#4 Collective Evolution

All the misinformation, all the time.

#3 MindBodyGreen

The “conversations about health” are decidedly in favor of “natural remedies” that are not supported by scientific research. People who waste their time mucking about with ineffective alternative treatments often die much sooner.

#2 Spirit Science

Most of their posts are harmless new-agey spiritual stuff and kookiness. But sometimes they veer into unsupportable natural remedies and outright pseudoscience.

#1 The Mind Unleashed

They’re a good example of slipping in a bit of bullshit here and there amongst the standard viral Facebook stuff. There’s a theme of immature hippy-style mistrust of any and every authority. What are you rebelling against? What have you got?

Bonus Post

Ernest Hemingway coined the term Crap Detector to refer to the little mechanism that ought to be working inside each person’s brain.

The most certain way to develop this ability to discern truth from baloney is education. In particular, an education in science will help protect you from the charlatans and cranks of the world.

I highly recommend starting with one of the many free online resources, such as Crash Course: Biology, Crash Course: Chemistry, and Crash Course: Anatomy and Physiology.

Bonus 2:

Dawn did not mention him, but I personally would add Mehmet Oz to the list. A sad case of a classically-trained physician who has sold his reputation for a mess of pottage, and in his quest to find natural remedies has devolved into a pitchman for the most ridiculous and worthless products known to man.

Disclaimer: Even with education in the hard sciences, it’s wise to remember that not everything is known that can be known. Aspirin is a direct outgrowth of historical use of willow bark to treat fevers. I have a strong conviction that there are literally countless chemical compounds out in nature that remain to be discovered that can have beneficial effects on human health and disease… but most of them have not been discovered yet.

Heath and wellness is soon to be, if it’s not already, a trillion-dollar industry – and everyone and their dog wants a slice of that pie. Trouble is, most of those dollars will be made selling bullcrap to the ignorant. There are very few exceptions.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

¹ Woo is a term used among skeptical writers to describe pseudoscientific explanations that have certain common characteristics.

The Next “Miracle Weight Loss Herb” – Caralluma Fimbriata

According to Wikipedia, caralluma ascendens, another name for caralluma fimbriata, is an edible form of cactus used throughout the Indian subcontinent as an appetite suppressant, or so-called “famine food.”

Leave it to the snake-oil hawkers to turn this into the next big thing they can make a few bucks on.

Got an email today from a “friend,” one whose email account or information had been compromised:

From: Redacted



Subject: [Redacted]

Hi! How are you?

It works!

[Name Redacted]

These spoofed emails are so transparent at this point that I can smell the fraud before I even open them. But, in the interest of public service, I follow these links to see what new scam is being perpetrated on the general public.

Today’s bowl of steaming camel ejecta led me to a website hawking caralluma, the new New NEW weight-loss miracle.


This is the same kind of affiliate marketing effluence that I have described elsewhere (just do a search at this blog for garcinia cambogia, for example).  Notice the tiny print below “ACT NOW!” that obligates you to a monthly $10.00 charge. But in the end, they’re less concerned with selling you their product as they are about getting your information which in the long run is much more valuable to them than a single sale.

Smell the foul rot of desperation as we proceed through the following screens:


The first come-on is BOGO. If we don’t fall for that, we get this:


Wait wait wait! OK, what now?

One of 50 customers, huh? Wow, I must really be special. But I guess I’m not really interested after all.


Wait wait wait! Wow, a free trial bottle, and the offer is good for only 10 minutes! Shall we look and see?


Now this is a wondrous thing. Instead of caralluma, I’ve been sent to a page to order garcinia cambogia. Looks like the affiliate marketer forgot to update his previous campaign.

More desperation.


Now the bottle is free, and I only have to pay 99¢ for shipping. But remember, I’m still providing my credit card information, and obligating myself to that $10.00 per month “subscription.” Once these drones have your financial information, they are in a position to bill you for anything they want, or sell your credit card and personal information to other scumsuckers.

It’s all garbage, poorly-crafted but sadly effective affiliate marketing for products that have little or no value, or worse, are actually detrimental to your health.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Kevin Richardson’s “Miracle Cure,” an Infuriating Scam

Oxygen Diet Scam

So here’s the email that showed up in my inbox today:

From: Ultimate.Cure.17690762 <>
Subject: Doctor Jailed for CURING Cancer (see why),  Article No. 10754166
To: <redacted>

Today, you have a 95% chance of eventually dying from a disease or condition for which there is already a known cure right at your fingertips.

Well-respected doctors have been attacked, threatened with losing their licenses and even JAILED for sharing the information you are about to discover…
If you or a your loved one is suffering from ANY, and we mean ANY illness, chronic or acute, especially if you’ve been told it is incurable, then this is the most important message you will hear today.
View This SHOCKING Health Alert in your Browser:
(they don’t want you to know about this)

Article No. 10754166

We see this kind of thing all the time, but this particular scam infuriates me because it doesn’t just say you’re going to lose weight (açaí berries or garcinia cambogia) – it claims to cure any and all diseases, including cancer and HIV. This is cruel and dangerous – weak-minded or uneducated people will fall for this rubbish and spend their valuable money on a worthless system instead of seeking competent medical assistance. This fraud will kill people.

Have a look at some of the garbage this maddening presentation says:

  • Learn how to oxygenate your cells in a way that makes it IMPOSSIBLE for bacteria, cancer, or any virus to live, and create a miraculous recovery and immunity to any disease – much less the diseases that are killing us in record numbers today.
  • Disease and oxygen cannot be in the same space in your body.
  • Oxygen needs to get inside your cells in order to get rid of disease. (Solution: take a deep breath.)
  • Remember the oxygen therapies you will have access to have been PROVEN to CURE the most incurable illnesses to date like the HIV virus and practically all forms of cancer.
  • Documentation and proof of oxygen therapy curing virtually every disease we know of goes back to the late 1800s.
  • When you use these techniques properly, you’ll be shocked as you see physical reactions that prove the virus, bacteria or toxin is leaving the body – even if you’ve tried every therapy out there.
  • Use your “maintenance routine” once your illness has vaporized out of your body.
  • Many people the world over have been helped and yes even “cured” by these simple therapies. (Note the use of scare quotes.)

The lies and false claims continue unabated for around half an hour – cure eczema, psoriasis, regain youthful skin, whatever, you name it. As I mentioned in a previous post, with thanks to the creators of Lucky Luke:


Buzzwords, vague and oblique references to un-cited scientific studies, dropping names like Atkins, I have never seen a more evil conglomeration of mumbo-jumbo in my life.


Search Google for “Kevin Richardson Miracle Cure Scam,” and most of what you get is shill pages and affiliate recommendations. Yes, they pay people to become affiliates using another multi-level fraud:


… and I’m sure the email that started all of this is from one of their suckers. Notice that they promise up to $118.00 and change commission per sale, but they’re selling their product for less than $40.00. I’d like to see the math on that one.


Original price $97.00, but for YOU, because YOU”RE SPECIAL, and because you’re going to ACT NOW, only $37.00.

Order 2

One other thing to be aware of is that if you do order, you’re giving your credit card number to extremely unethical people, and you stand a good chance of having unauthorized and/or recurring charges applied to your card, with little or no hope of getting a refund if you complain.

Attorney General offices are constantly trying to bring down such fraudsters – click through for an Iowa report on one action against a company promoting the miracle benefits of “marine phytoplankton.” The problem with scams like this is that they are like a hydra – cut off one head, and two more spring up in its place.

I write this post largely to combat all of the fraudulent information out there, in the hopes that a few people might encounter it and save their money. Please, be smart. Stay away from all such snake oil.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


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