Oprah Winfrey has been transparent about weight management for years. The TV mogul is even a partial owner of WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers. There’s no doubt that Winfrey is a trustworthy face in the world of weight loss. So, it’s no surprise that scammers have decided to use Winfrey’s likeness in their fraudulent weight loss supplement scheme.
‘Somebody’s Out There Misusing My Name’
On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey took to social media to address some disturbing news that has come to her attention: Scammers are hawking fake weight loss supplements and using her name and likeness to do so. In an Instagram video, Winfrey warned her followers about the predatory scheme.
“So, it happened to me again today. A woman came up to me and said ‘Can you help me get your weight loss gummies?'” Winfrey began. “I said, ‘Ma’am, I don’t have anything to do with weight loss gummies and let me just tell you, you’re the fifth person this week to mention it.’ So, I’m going to address it.”
Winfrey firmly insisted that she is not involved with any weight loss supplement companies. “Somebody’s out there misusing my name, even sending emails to people advertising weight loss gummies. I have nothing to do with weight loss gummies or diet pills, and I don’t want you all taken advantage of by people misusing my name.” She ended the video with a final declaration, carefully emphasizing each word: “I have no weight loss gummies.”
The Advertisements Began Circulating Earlier This Year
The scam came to Winfrey’s attention back in the spring. Wary internet users first sounded alarms over the suspicious advertisements in April. An ad posted to Facebook on April 27 read, “Claim your fitness gummies from Oprah until the 30th.” Many of these advertisements have promised significant results within as little as three weeks.
“These ads are a complete fabrication,” Nicole Nichols, a senior vice president of communications for Winfrey, told USA Today in May. “Oprah has nothing to do with this gummy product and does not endorse any such diet or weight-loss pill.”
Of course, it should be noted that weight loss supplements are controversial products to begin with. Since they’re marketed as dietary supplements rather than drugs, they are only subject to FDA regulations. That’s to say as long as they’re deemed safe for consumption, they don’t have to go through any kind of testing to prove they’re effective.
Many consumers complain about getting little to no results from weight loss pills and gummies, and some have even experienced adverse side effects. According to WebMD, self-proclaimed “fat burners” that include stimulant ingredients can even increase your risk for high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks. If you see a diet pill or gummy advertisement, whether it’s seemingly being marketed by a trustworthy celebrity or not, it’s probably best to steer clear!