There are dozens of fantastic, safe, and effective testosterone-boosting products out there, but a degree of caution is still always needed when choosing between them. Part of the problem is that many testosterone-boosters share much in common with the notoriously dodgy “male enhancement pill” market, which has relied on a system of scamming and spamming customers pretty much since the dawn of the Internet.
Luckily for our readers, sorting out the good from the bad is not as hard as it used to be, requiring just a pinch of online street-smarts and common sense, mixed with some useful pre-existing knowledge of the underhand techniques that scammers like to use.
Below, we explore some of the nasty tactics that criminal scammers use to steal money from unsuspecting customers, and point out the danger signs that should warn you to stay well away. Enjoy!
Scam pages tend to share some things in common that can alert an experienced shopper to the potential of a scam straight away. If you’ve just stumbled across a sales page for an interesting new testosterone product, take a look around you and see whether the page offering it is the kind you expect to see.
Scam website tend to have a certain kind of appearance that marks them out as what they are. Rather than a professionally-designed layout with a small order button at the bottom, scam websites tend to assault the senses with exaggerated pictures, huge text in bold, and a massive “ORDER NOW” button.
The actual claims they make are also unrealistic and never, ever backed up with anything resembling evidence. Unlike reputable testosterone supplements, scam products like Ripped Muscle X tend to take credit for celebrity gains (such as showing a picture of the Rock or someone similar, and implying that their use of the scam product changed their body). The best products on the market often use references to real studies in their advertising copy, and give full breakdowns of each ingredient and what it is supposed to do – you won’t see the expected attention to detail on a throwaway scam site.
It’s also useful to keep an eye out for crazy and outlandish claims. In the past, we’ve seen products that claim to add inches to your bicep circumference within 2 weeks, or (in the bizarre case of Elevate GF) that the product can make you physically taller! We know that all advertising is prone to exaggeration, but if the page seems especially unreasonable or fantastical than it’s probably attempting to take your money and run!
It’s worth mentioning that scams are normally only possible on dedicated websites (such as malexpro.net or elitetest360trial.com) and are far less likely to happen if you choose to buy from 3rd party retailers like Amazon, www.bodybuilding.com, Lucky Vitamin, GNC, and others. Consider lessening the risk of scams altogether by sticking to high quality retailers that will have already vetted their products to pick out only the highest-quality and most reputable manufacturers!
In recent years, we have seen many scams being carried out through phishing. Phishing is where you trick web-users by making them think they are visiting a website they trust (such as their bank), when in reality they are actually being sent to a website designed to mimic the trusted website. You can normally tell whether you have been re-directed to a fake website by checking out the URL (the space at the top of your web browser where you input web addresses). If it doesn’t read what you expect, then you have probably been tricked.
Normally, this technique is used to steal credit card details, but we’ve seen it used a lot by scam testosterone supplement manufacturers to fool customers into thinking they are reading reputable sources when they aren’t.
One product, Elite Test 360, would grab customers and put them onto a website that looked like the official ESPN website, with the same page always discussing how various male celebrities’ bodies had been transformed for the better after using Elite Test 360. If readers chose to click anywhere on the page, they would immediately be re-directed to the sales page for Elite Test 360, and as you might expect, the real ESPN website had no association with the fake page whatsoever.
Although you can sniff out scams like these by checking the URL bar at the top, other websites attempt to bamboozle customers by constantly re-directing them through different pages. Whilst attempting to research the highly-suspicious PXL/VXL/PTX supplement, we found ourselves re-directed dozens of times, as we were taken to the pages of multiple scam testosterone supplements, fake weight-loss products, and even gambling websites. The aim is to get you to lose as much money as possible through as many means as possible! If you find yourself on a website that you weren’t expecting to be taken to, take that as a sure sign that something ‘phishy’ is going on.
One important way to think about whether you’ve been taken to a scam website is to think about how you got there. If it was through a clickable advert on a streaming website or blog, chances are you’re not being directed to a premium product.
The Internet is absolutely stuffed with irritating ads, and a surprising number of these want to sell you testosterone or male-enhancement pills. However, if the product is being made known to you through ridiculous banner ads, pop-ups, or a random re-direct from clicking the wrong part of a torrent website, you are almost certainly being given the bottom-of-the-barrel in terms of quality. Apply the same rules we discussed above to banner ads – if they are highly unrealistic, use clearly photoshopped images, or use clickbait, then their objective is probably to take your money and leave you in the dust!
While we’re on the subject, seeing pop-up ads on a product page is also a terrible sign that the company is a scammer. As you already shopping on a product page, most websites wouldn’t dream of forcing more pop-ads to distract you, as this would kind of defeat the point. But remember, many scam websites may be more interested in getting you to accidentally click a pop-up ad so they can install a virus directly onto your computer, or lock you into a cycle so you can’t leave the website; it may sound outlandish but we’ve seen it happen a lot! If you see a pop-up ad on what is supposed to be a sales page, take that as a clear sign to get as far away from the product as possible.
Free trials are normally a great thing, and are probably well worth a try when dealing with a big, reputable company or when trying something in-store. However, free trials have become something of a scourge on the Internet over the last few years, and have left something of a trail of destruction in their wake in terms of stolen money. Worse, we’ve seen strong evidence that these types of scams disproportionately target customers seeking testosterone-boosters or supplements in general.
The basic form of the scheme is always roughly the same. The company tells the customers that they can enjoy a free trial of an exciting testosterone-booster before they decide whether to buy.
All the customer has to do is enter their debt and credit card information to pay a nominal fee (perhaps a dollar) for shipping. After entering their information and details, they usually find that just a dollar has been deducted as promised and that they receive the free trial as expected within a week or so. No harm no foul, right?
The problem lies in the fact that the story never seems to end there. As the company now has the customer’s credit card information, they now begin deducting massive amounts of money every month (sometimes reaching hundreds of dollars every month). Often, the companies claim that they are doing this legally, as the terms and conditions and small print listed somewhere on the website actually explains that the free trial is not really “free”, or that the customers have inadvertently locked themselves into a contract. The scam can normally only be ended when the customer realises that they are losing money, or are still receiving products that they never requested. Most will never get their money back, as companies like these tend to have non-existent complaints procedures and will deny wrongdoing on the basis that customers failed to read the fine-print.
It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes the company has no terms and conditions at all and are simply criminals, and will drain the customer’s account as fast as they can get away with it. For this reason, we advise avoiding any and all free trials that request credit card information, as the evidence suggests to us that the arrangement is always misused. Nothing is ever really free after all.
Sometimes, doing research on scam products is an uphill battle. Many scam companies fill the web with junk articles and blog posts, that claim their testosterone products really do what they claim. Comment sections throughout the Internet can be filled with fake comments and promoters extolling the virtues of such-and-such product, making it hard to really know what the truth is. Often, you might be able to tell real from fake by seeing badly-worded English, text that looks like it’s been written by a bot, or posts that have all been written on the same day.
As these factors may be subtle, it’s useful to have an easier method for researching whether a product is good. For this we advise using high-quality websites that can help to tell whether a company is reputable. The best of the best is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for American readers, and TrustPilot for British readers. These websites aim to give all businesses a rating based on how trustworthy they are, and feature real comments and complaints written by former customers. Fake reviewers and bots find it harder to operate on these websites, meaning that you can broadly trust what is written there. Another good option is Scam Advisor, a website that has been specifically set up to detect scams, and which has identified thousands and thousands of scams over the years.
Luckily for consumers, most outrageous scams are very well-known to each of these websites, and a quick visit will expose you to hundreds of comments describing the horror stories that others have experienced. If you’re suspicious about a product, consider visiting one of these websites immediately to check their databases, and of course, don’t forget to share your own experiences and help others!
Auto-ship programs are arrangements where you agree to pay a monthly fee in order to have your testosterone-boosters delivered to your door regularly, without having to re-order. When you already trust both the product and the supplier, they can be a hugely convenient way of ordering a product you know you will use regularly.
However, as you may have noticed with the earlier entry on free trials, auto-ship programs represent a buying arrangement that is highly open to abuse if the seller is a scammer. Even when knowingly signing up to an auto-ship program, many customers have been left far poorer due to unscrupulous companies making it effectively impossible to cancel them.
Some companies hide their real terms of service in the fine print, tricking customers into signing a contract that cannot be easily cancelled (such as having to re-order automatically for a year). Others simply refuse to man their own customer service numbers, meaning that customers cannot physically get hold of the company in order to cancel. As arrangements like these can land you with multiple months of payments you don’t want to pay, it’s best to stick to the most established brands before entering into them.
Scams are some of the most fluid and changeable phenomena on the internet, with crooks finding new ways to steal money all the time. Have you ever been the victim of a scam whilst buying testosterone-boosters? Did the company use a method of trickery we haven’t already explored above? Please tell us about it in the comments so we can continue building better and more informative guides, and hopefully one day beat the scammers once and for all!