ALS/MND Scam Watch
Last Updated: April 23rd, 2010
This section of our website is dedicated to Internet users that are actively seeking help, support, treatments, therapies and informational truths related to ALS/MND.
ALSforums Scam Watch is a proactive approach to combatting fraudulent product, therapy and treatment promotions that affect people with MND and their partners, family, and friends.
The information and views on this page are derived from experience with ALS/MND related online forum groups and chat systems.
Be aware, fraudsters are actively seeking to take advantage of your situation for one simple reason; personal financial gain. While they may pretend to care, they care only about their bank accounts.
ALSforums Scam Watch
We encourage you to read the information contained on this page carefully, and reflect on this information each time you are approached, recommended, or otherwise persuaded to spend money relating to a product, philosophy or treatment that claims unproven or unrealistic benefits.
The information added to this website section is not, and never will be complete. Online fraud is ever evolving, as one “helpful product or therapy” is dismissed as fraud, a new one will appear. As one fraudster is uncovered, a market opens for a new individual to take his or her place.
Fraud Online Is a Growing Problem
Stopping fraud outright, especially online, is a daunting and difficult task - understaffed and lacking in technology, law enforcement agencies struggle to catch criminals, when they do, they often struggle with state or provincial law as well as international law; as many perpetrators live abroad they are free to go about their business without intervention from law enforcement agencies.
This section of our site serves as a guide - a guide for all people affected by a terminal illness. It is our hope that with awareness, common sense, and a little history, you will be better able to protect yourself and loved ones from false hope, wasted time, and wasted money.
Hope or Hogwash
The purpose of the ALSforums Scam Watch is not designed to deter you from holding faith, keeping hope, or from investigating new or yet-unproven therapies. We would like to help showcase past “hogwash” products and similar future claims; often, fraudsters may have a stock pile of product to sell, if their scam is revealed in one community (example: the cancer patient community), they will start up a similar false hope campaign in another unrelated disease community.
While some fraudsters work hard, many are lazy, as such, they prefer to peddle their wares using similar methods and will move from one community to the next (see the mannatech scam).
Identifying a Scam
Here are some indicators to help you identify a scam product or fraudulent individual:
Remember, common sense is your best defense. As you've probably heard before, if it seems too good to be true, chances are it is.
Fraudsters revel in the annonymity online forums and chat groups provide; legitimate drugs/therapies will have legitimate information available through legitimate sources. Do your homework and don't buy into false hope!
Fraudulent Individuals and “Companies”
Be aware, there are thousands of individuals online that are hoping to profit from your circumstances, from your need for hope, your need for a cure. These “people” will try to sell you products, drugs, specialty items, books, and miracle cures just to name a few. They're sales attempts, much like the individual, is secretly veiled and not to be trusted.
How Will I Be Approached?
These “people” will post product reviews directly in the discussion groups and forums you have come to trust. These “people” will create multiple accounts on the forums, or they will work in teams, and they will post follow up messages to reinforce their false claims. These “people” will send you unsolicited e-mail, also known as “spam”. These people will ask/or obtain your home phone number or address and may approach you directly. Fraudsters will work hard to deceive you - just as we will work hard to uncover these scams and help protect you. Your best line of defense however is your own common sense - you must work hard to protect yourself.
These unscrupulous individuals will befriend you, they will pretend to help you, all in hopes of eventually making a profit from you, from your caregiver, from your friends, and from your loved ones.
Voice your thoughts publicly if you suspect a scam and be skeptical - if the product is legitimate the truth will be told, until then, as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
If you are viewing a public forum or non-authorative article it is always best to keep a certain level of skepticism.
How Can I Protect Myself Against Fraud?Here are some important ways for you to protect yourself:
Searching for ALS and MND Information Online?
Please read the following articles and/or forum threads to ensure that you able to protect yourself online. Experience has shown that there are many individuals ready, willing and able to take advantage of people such as yourself. These individuals are shameless in their pursuits and often use spam e-mail tactices, or worse yet, false claims, promises of miracle cures, misleading leading information and fear tactics - the goal of their pursuits always ends with one outcome, to make a sale.
For more information about how to identify a scam and/or report a scam we recommend the following resources:
Even Better Now
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Report A Fraud To Quackwatch