How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of the Acai Berry Scandal

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Known as the latest superfood to hit the headlines, the Acai Berry has been at the centre of the largest Superfood scandal the world has ever seen, with the emergence of bogus sites shaking buyer confidence. In light of these recent developments, journalist Tina Clough spoke to an online security consultant to find out how to avoid such scams.

Regarded as one of the most popular and controversial health supplements in the world, the Acai Berry is a small, purplish berry that grows primarily in flood plains and swamps of Central and South America. Praised for being rich in fibre, antioxidants and fatty acids, weight loss gurus have long hailed the berry as a vital tool in the battle of the bulge.

Medical research has also indicated that the Acai Berry acts as an appetite suppressant, in addition to boosting the immune system and preventing free radicals from destroying your cells and helping your skin to look more radiant.

Attempting to profit from the latest craze, many scammers have set up sites which offer free Acai Berry trials that fail to materialize, hard-to-cancel recurring orders on your credit card and other methods of trickery to make money from unsuspecting customers.

Robert Pearce, an online security expert said, “First of all, understand that the Acai Berry itself is not the problem, and there are some small steps you can take to avoid becoming the victim of an online Acai Berry scam.”

Here are a few pointers of things you should look out for.

• Make sure the site has a phone number! – give them a call, a good honest company will not mind you checking that they are a legitimate business before placing an order with them.

• Is there an address on the site? – make sure the company address is on the site, and that it is a geographical address not a PO-Box address.

• Use an independent review site – independent review sites use genuine reviews from real people. This will ensure that you know you are buying from a safe site.

• Google the company name or name of the website – if the site has a bad reputation, chances are that people have talked about them on forums.

• A large, reputable company may make a billing mistake, or there could be a misunderstanding, but it is always quickly resolved. Small hoax companies will operate above the law, and it is difficult for the government to keep up with them, which means that customer satisfaction is not high on their agenda.

• Make sure that you read all of the fine print on the site. If the website mentions anything about recurring billing, it is a scam and if it mentions anything about a free trial, where you are required to cancel by a certain time in your billing cycle, it is a scam.

• Do not sign up to any free trials – if a deal seems too good to be true, it often is.

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