The US authorities have obtained a court order against a diet pill company accused of spamming and scamming users with outlandish ads and phony endorsements.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint alleges that Glendale, California-based Sale Slash broke the FTC Act and CAN-SPAM legislation.
The company is accused of sending illegal spam emails and posting banner ads which directed users to fake news sites reviewing and endorsing the products.
The sites apparently made false claims and featured fake celebrity endorsements promoting the diet pills.
The firm is said to have marketed a range of products in the US including fake weight loss supplements such as Premium Green Coffee, Pure Garcinia Cambogia, and Premium White Kidney Bean Extract.
“Sale Slash is a fraud trifecta,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “The company made outlandish weight-loss claims for its diet pills using fake news sites, phony celebrity endorsements, and millions of unwanted spam emails.”
The affiliate marketers paid by Sale Slash per click-through used stolen email addresses in its spam campaign, sending the unwanted mail to users’ contacts so that the messages appeared to come from friends and family.
The emails are also said not to have featured any info on how to opt out of future missives.
Sale Slash will now face a court hearing to decide if it is guilty of the transgressions the FTC is claiming.
Those behind the company belong to a group known by security vendor Cloudmark as the ‘Com Spammers’.
“The Com Spammers are not a single organization. It’s been clear from the start that there is an affiliate program in operation where spammers are paid by the owner of the landing pages who in turn get paid by the different scammers doing the monetization,” explained research analyst Andrew Conway in a blog post.
“That’s why the takedown of the work from home scam did not disable the whole operation. However, this time the FTC alleges that they have identified the person responsible for monetizing the diet pills, and the person who was managing the network of affiliate spammers.”
The commission has shown itself to be more than capable of taking on firms which it believes are infringing on consumer rights.