Watch wrinkle cream rip-offs


By Melissa Martin - Contributing Columnist

Enchanted emollients. Dream cream promises. The spell of the gel.

Well it happened. Scammers used Judge Judy’s notoriety to bilk and bamboozle consumers. With deception and deceit, greedy cons created a fake website to hoodwink the public. The TV icon of the legal system does not endorse or sell skin care products. Ointment for oldsters is not her bag.

Have you been scammed by a skincare company using Robin McGraw’s name? She does endorse her own skin care line of products, but was the victim of a scam-machine in the past.

“Celebrities aren’t the only victims of a long-running Internet scam that uses fake celebrity endorsements to peddle skin care products online. Ordinary individuals who fall for the advertorials (advertisements written to look like articles) in some cases wind up bilked out of hundreds of dollars.” —

Buyers must beware of free trials of wrinkle creams. “It’s free! And you only have to pay for is shipping,” is what the tricksters proclaim. Don’t believe it. Lies. Lies. And more lies.

In order to receive the “free” sample you need to agree to the terms and conditions. Whammy! If you do not cancel the order and return the product within the number of days specified, you are charged full price. And the con artists of cream hold your credit card hostage with automatic monthly charges for more products. Because you didn’t read the fine print or the hidden print or the makeup print.

Greedy scammers prey on women’s insecurities. Bogus beauty claims for bucks. The cons of crime use networks of technology, phony web sites, and social media as tools of trickery. Scrupulous scoundrels who would sell their grandma’s dentures for a profit.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken legal action against some of the skincare scammers in the past, but new tactics pop up on the Internet often. “Twenty-nine defendants who sold Auravie, Dellure, LéOR Skincare, and Miracle Face Kit branded skincare products have agreed to court orders with the FTC or had default orders entered against them,” is reported on the FTC website.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center provides the public with a reliable reporting mechanism to submit information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity.

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Scammers are savvy at mimicking official-looking language. Dishonesty is alive and well on the web.

Be aware of high-pressure sales tactics. Any skincare product with a limited-time offer needs to be questioned. Be a cautious consumer.

Folks, turn on your scam detectors. There is no fountain of youth for wrinkles in a jar, a tube, or in a container. Don’t be held hostage by hype. Don’t fall for the before and after pictures. Stop. Breathe. Think. Use your rational brain. Press the pause button in your mind. Evaluate your emotions. Assess your attraction reaction to looking younger.

I buy my favorite skincare concoctions: cleanser, face serums, toner, lotion with sunscreen, moisturizer. But I stay alert for scams and rip-offs.

But, what makes us vulnerable to scams? Prone to product propaganda? Gullible to gimmicks? The psychology of persuasion is utilized by politicians, priests, and perpetrators. Humans are taught to listen to voices of authority. And not to question voices of authority.

But, what makes us obsess over the skin on our faces? The culture of glamour magazines, supermodels, and celebrities? The longstanding vice of vanity? Feeling vulnerable to aging and the subsequent changes? We give meaning to our wrinkles. Death is on the horizon and wrinkles remind us of the elephant in the room.

TV commercials, movies, and social media influence the perceptions, opinions, and beliefs of females. You are your looks: that’s what society teaches and preaches to girls. From the cradle to the grave we punish and pamper our skin.

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you,” writes Rupi Kaur in her book of poetry and prose, Milk and Honey.

By Melissa Martin

Contributing Columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.