Weight loss expert Dr. Eva Orsmond warns public not to be duped into buying diet pills advertised in fake social media ads with her image
Dr. Eva Orsmond has become the latest household name to have her image used in a series of fake online ads.
The obesity expert has told how her clinics have received hundreds of calls from people reporting they had been scammed into paying for keto pills over the summer which claim to burn fat.
Celebrities are being increasingly targeted by scammers using their images without their permission to sell products
In the case of the weight loss expert, her image was used in a sophisticated cloaking scam which used a number of different social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr to sell keto pills.
The obesity expert said she was dismayed to find out members of the public had been duped by the ads claiming ‘This thing burns fat! Without sport!’”
She said: “This has been very, very stressful.
“We have had nearly 200 calls – and some people who found out it was a scam actually blamed us.
“There is a horrible feeling of powerlessness that you can’t clear your name.
“I have worked hard for 20 years to get a reliable reputation. I have worked on trying to give people knowledge about the consequences about overweight and obesity and practical and realistic tools to lose weight.
“I would never recommend any quick fixes when it comes to losing weight. There is no such thing as a weight loss pill that burns fat.”
The high-fat keto diet which has become popular among celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian is one of the most fashionable diets in 2020.
The Orsmond clinics were first alerted to the scam when they received calls during the summer from members of the public questioning whether Dr. Eva was endorsing a keto pill on Facebook ads in July.
Then they received calls from people claiming they had bought keto supplements for 40 euros but later found 200 euros was taken from their account.
Other people rang the Orsmond clinics to say they had ordered the pills but they had not arrived.
“This has created a lot of stress and sadness for me that there might be people out there who actually believe this because it has been attached to my name”, said Dr. Eva.
“I’m deeply upset for those who fell under this misguided information and ended up purchasing these supplements that they suggest.”
The clinic alerted the Gardai, Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Pharmacy Association of Ireland to the fake ads during the summer.
Although the ads were initially reported to Facebook in July by the Orsmond clinics, they continued to run up until this week.
After being contacted for comment on this article, a statement from Facebook and Instagram this week said they do not allow fake or misleading ads and have now removed the ads.
“I’m obviously relieved but it’s been stressful two months. We got nowhere until a journalist started working on this”, said Dr. Eva.
“We had so many phone calls and some people were enraged and believed we were involved in something like that.
“What worries me the most is the hundreds and thousands of people who have seen these adverts who think I’ve lost my integrity.”
A Facebook company spokesperson said Facebook and Instagram are putting significant resources towards tackling these kinds of ads.
“We have removed the ads, account holders and Pages that were running the ads using Dr. Eva Orsmond image.
“It’s important to us that ads on Facebook and Instagram are useful to people and not used to promote deceptive behaviour, like using images of public figures to mislead people.
“Our systems get better when people report this kind of behaviour in ads by tapping the three dots in the top right corner and selecting ‘Report Ad’.
“We also ask people to report content using the in-app reporting tool so our teams can quickly locate and take action on the exact piece of content where it lives on Facebook and Instagram.’”
Facebook also added that when they find ads that try to get around our enforcement, they go beyond rejecting the ad and disable ad accounts and remove their ability to advertise in the future.
The social media giant also said they are examining ways of quickly identifying “bad actors”.
They added that they are committed to combating the industry-wide problem of scam ads, including those that may feature celebrities or other public figures.
Dr. Orsmond said there should be more effort to make sure the source of information is correct on advertising.
“People would be better with old-fashioned newspapers which are printed in Ireland and seek information which comes from a reliable source.
“People come with different levels of education and experience in life which means some people will actually believe this.
“There is nothing wrong with being trusting but it is sad we have come to the stage in the world where you can’t trust anything anymore.”