Part 2 in a series

One of the most seemingly ludicrous, annoying, and pervasive Twitter scams is the promise of free teeth whitening.  So, what is this all about?

The teeth whitening scams work by creating fake websites that appear to be blogs with personal testimonials. An example would be www.karensteeth.com.  These sites advertise a “special combination” of two separate products, and give instructions for signing up for free trials. The combination of two products makes it seem less like advertising and more like an economical way to “beat the system,” but the products are almost always fake. Usually these fake blogs appear to have been created by an “ordinary mom” to provide an aura of home-spun credibility.

A Twitter search for “teeth whitening” delivers hundreds of tweets, all linking to similar  types of “mom blogs.” Cross-checking the link stats through bit.ly show that most of them get at least a few clicks.

The product websites purport to offer you a trial of the whitening treatment for the cost of shipping only, but they typically also charge mysterious, non-refundable fees without ever shipping any product. The web is filled with complaints from consumers who sent in money and received nothing in return.

Here’s what the Better Business Bureau says about this scam:

“Complaintants report being billed as much as $79 for the free trial and are charged for several other services—such as a weight loss program.”

These teeth-whitening spam sites frequently carry “endorsements” from ABC, CNN, FOX, USA TODAY at the tops of their websites.  But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the actual testimonials are quotes touting the ease/benefits of teeth whitening treatments in general, not the specific products advertised. Often, these websites simply use these media logos without any testimonial at all.

It’s important to note that it’s always just the logos of these companies that appear, never the name of ABC, CNN, etc. in plain text. This would make it searchable, and these media outlets could find them to pursue legal action.

The Twitter accounts posting this scam update several times a minute, often using trending topic  hashtags or specific usernames to lure more interest.

Bottom line, there does not seem to be anything legitimate about this scheme at all.  If you see anyone perpetuating this Twitter scam, my recommendation is to block and report as spam.

Tomorrow the series continues with spammers claiming to help you find “Extreme Wealth Through Twitter Followers!”

Part 1 in the series of Twitter’s Biggest Scams: Multi-level marketing

Part 3: Building wealth through Twitter follower lists

Part 4: The Trump Network

Part 5: What to do about Twitter scams

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