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Reading the Fine Print: CBD Scams at work

Shark Tank CBD Scam

Let's Set the CBD Trial Offer record Straight

If you’ve bounced around the internet (web) and found a site that has CBD and trusted it, good for you. If you found a site with CBD products online that you bought from but they did a “bait and switch” with you or kept charging your credit card, then welcome to the club!

It’s not the first time scammers entered an industry and decided to prey upon people who really just want good products at good prices. Scammers take all shapes and forms. One of the most common scams is the “too good to be true” offer or one that is more like a “Trial Offer”. If you’re looking to buy CBD online instead of shopping for “CBD Near Me” with your local stores, then be sure to read this entire article to learn some features which will save you a great deal of hassle in the future.

Buy CBD Online

It’s safe to buy CBD online. But, there’s a catch. If you’re wary of buying products online, no matter what the products are, then you’re likely a safer consumer and your purchases are probably safer than most. Being wary when you’re online, whether you’re shopping, social media trolling, or whatever, is a good thing. This is why reputable vendors of CBD don’t do things that set up the “red flags” which are triggered when the average person sees something “fishy”. When it comes to buying CBD products online, it’s no different from buying any products from any vendor online – you really need to do a bit of quick homework first.

First off, never buy from an online vendor who doesn’t use HTTPS or a secured connection for their web store. Just look at your browser address bar and make sure the connection to the store is a secured connection. Some fly by night vendors who are trying to separate you from your hard earned money will create a quick website and put a “buy CBD Now” link in place and voila! They’re raking in some quick cash.

Reputable CBD and Hemp vendors like the team at Carolina Hemp Hut take every step possible to ensure that your online order of CBD products is safe and secure and fulfilled with reputable products.

CBD Scam Free Trial Offer Shark Tank
CBD Scam Free Trial Offer Shark Tank

How to detect a Scammer with CBD

Unless you work in the CBD/Hemp industry as the team at Carolina Hemp Hut does, you’re more likely not going to notice the telltale signs of people trying to slime their way into your wallets. We also know that if you have a bad experience online with the purchase of CBD products (Buy CBD Online), you’re also not likely to try again. This is unfair to reputable and well-trusted vendors such as Carolina Hemp Hut. This is why we love taking the time to investigate the scammers and bring them into the light for everyone to see.

How to investigate whether a CBD Source is reputable

  1. Look for the CBD Free Trial
  2. Check whether the source is a PO Box, a PMB, or someone’s house
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions
  4. Check Testimonial links for accuracy or validity
  5. Click on “Related Content” links to see if valid results are shown
  6. Click on the Privacy Policy to see whether it works and shows valid data
  7. Check for Certificate of Analysis links
  8. Verify whether site has a phone number to call for support
  9. Examine whether CBD vendor makes clearly false or unsupported claims (such as “kills cancer”)

Some Clear Indicators that You’ve found a Scammer

Scammers aren’t going to work too hard to create original content after they’ve already had success with a scam in the past. The typical scammer will regurgitate CBD product content from other campaigns and simply change the name of the product along with the corresponding scammer address (web site and “business address”). They’ll also change a few photos and they’re done. Relaunch the campaign and wait for new suckers to arrive.

Here are some images which are repeated with one group of scammers found on the web.

Beware of the Free Trial Offer or great SALE on CBD online

Whole Greens CBD Trial Offer Scam

Just before the holidays in 2019, LifeStream Labs (also known by MANY other names) launched their Holiday Sale with a Free Trial offer for CBD products. The offer included very weak CBD oil that was very over-priced. The more evil part of the scam was their trial offer wasn’t a single shipment, but they keep charging your credit card monthly a very high amount for the product they continue to ship each month. Yes, you get subpar product from LifeStream or Whole Greens and you pay for it, dearly.

Beware of the Free Trial Offer or great SALE on CBD online

Pay attention to the Lab Coat Cuties

Notice the stethoscope in the image. If you see a stethoscope casually draped around the neck of some web model, run. You’re better off tossing your cash into the air. Reputable vendors of CBD may mention where medical professionals support their product anecdotally, but they’re not going to say “doctor approved” or show doctors or nurses proudly displaying their product for you. When you see the Lab Coat Cutie, it’s likely a scam. Plus, if you pay attention to MORE THAN ONE of the emails or ads with CBD products with Free Trials or Super Deals, you’re likely to see the patter where the same Lab Coat Cutie is used for multiple ads with very similar sales text.

Free Trial offer CBD Shark Tank

Shark Tank CBD Oil? Jamie Richardson As Seen On Shark Tank Available Here

Yeah, you read that with Shark Tank. That makes it really a big red flag. If you see Jamie Richardson on a site, it’s likely fake and built to scam you. Yes, it’s possible it may be legit, but don’t count on it. If you’re a reputable dealer of CBD products, you’re more likely to keep promotional images of others to a minimum or very scarce.

We care: We Earn our Customers' Trust

When searching for CBD and hemp products online (like when you search for “Buy CBD online” or “Buy Hemp online”), you’re going to get a lot of valid CBD vendor sites showing. Take a moment and examine each to ensure that the links you visit don’t have medical claims or “too good to be true” deals. Carolina Hemp Hut has had some super deals before (like we have one now where we are giving away a year’s supply of Hemp Oil Extract/CBD), but they’re typically a giveaway or simple sale that is to reduce or eliminate surplus inventory.

Stores like Carolina Hemp Hut are built around a physical presence like the main store at 137 Mayo Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Scammers like to hide behind UPS store mailboxes, PO Boxes, and corporate park offices (where you’re never likely to visit for retail purchases).

CBD Scammer: LifeStream Labs

Buying CBD Near Me

“CBD Near Me” is one common search term many people use to find local vendors of CBD. This is a reasonable search which will provide both legit and scam results. For the most part, local SEO and searches tend to provide more legitimate than not. However, the ads that result from the search are often associated with scammers. Most of these are easily avoided if you just look to the SERP (search engine results page) info that is search results only and not the “Ad” results that are also returned.

When you’re looking for a CBD vendor near you, go ahead and investigate the target vendors with their street addresses. Are they in a retail establishment? Are they in a PO Box?

Buying CBD online

We don’t want people to stay away from CBD online. We want people to be careful when they buy it. We’ve written articles in the past regarding COAs (certificates of analysis) and checking up on the quality of CBD products. These resources are good for people to investigate when looking for natural health options such as CBD online. You’ll want to email or call vendors too – just to be sure they respond with good answers and are prompt in their responses. If you call a vendor and all you get after three calls is a voice mail during business hours, you’re likely better off moving to the next search result.

When buying CBD online, it’s a good idea to check on their Google or Yelp or similar review as well. Stores like Carolina Hemp Hut, both physical and online, have reviews on these platforms and more. To check up on the reviews of the online scammers, it’s also easy. Just search for something like “[name of vendor] reviews” in Google or your favorite search engine. For example, here’s LifeStream Labs.

Shopping for CBD

We think that the experience around CBD and Hemp Products should be a pleasure and not a nightmare. With educated consumers working to clean up the slime that occurs with any newly popular industry, we’ll be able to steer through more of the mess and into clean and safe transactions.

Download our handy No Scamming Guide to show your friends

Simply right click on this graphic (or use ctrl-Click with a Mac) and access the save meny for this graphic. Share with friends to keep them out of trouble with unsavory vendors and scammers.

Carolina Hemp Hut offers this free guide to prevent you and your friends from falling victim to online or other scammers with CBD,
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USA Today: Ask Google about CBD – Get Results

Shark Tank CBD Scam

USA Today Checks in with Google

USA Today recently covered CBD and how much it's being searched on Google. Rest assured that the popularity of this wunderkind of cannabis compounds is not slowing down as far as online popularity.

If you perform your own research, you'll find plenty of articles from the mass media outlets and, better still, from the academics studying cannabinoids. Even though we've been aware of the cannabinoid THC for many years, the popularity of it's cannabis cousin, CBD, have been only recently propelled into the spotlight.

Like any other mainstream health fad and product, CBD has been marketed by both kind-hearted businesses and unscrupulous vendors. Some selling the hemp-derived compound in various forms to help people address symptoms and conditions such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Sleeplessness or Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • ADD/ADHD

Smart vendors of the products infused or created with CBD know to speak of the abatement of discomfort from these conditions and never lay claims that CBD is a cure for anything directly.

CBD Oil for Health and to combat discomfort from Pain and Anxiety

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Through the decades, we've encountered plenty of health-related product fads. Some of these were based on solid science while others, such as the "Toning Sneakers" and "balance bands" (shilled by the huckster CEO from CBD company called PrimeMyBody, Paul Rogers), were merely tools to separate people from their money while making them think they're getting a benefit.

How does CBD stand in this?

As far as research goes (as provided in the many Google search results from NIH and related health studies), CBD or Cannabidiol and other Cannabinoids are showing that, for the most part, they're doing something positive for health from a number of fronts. How effective the various products are really amounts to a small series of questions that need to be asked by consumers:

  • Where is the product sourced?
  • Does the product have reliable third party testing results with their products?
  • Do you know how many milligrams of CBD you should be targeting for your particular health condition?
  • How much legal THC is in the Product?
  • Is the product Full Spectrum (does it have THC?) or is it an isolate (isolated with only CBD)?

The smart money is on producers of CBD that is sourced within the United States. This means the hemp is harvested and goes through extraction or isolation in the USA and not imported from China or Europe. While there are many good products available overseas, hemp is one crop that you should scrutinize well before purchasing hemp products. The big reason for this is products should have a COA (Certificate of Analysis) which takes form typically with total cannabinoids being graded. But, good COAs also include Heavy Metal and Pesticide testing. Can you imagine buying a 1/4 ounce of radioactive Chernobyl dank weed on sale for $20? Sounds like a bargain, maybe. The hemp plant is notoriously good at removing contaminants from the soil. If you're importing CBD products made with foreign grown hemp, you're not easily able to get the testing results you'd need to be assured that the product is responsibly sourced.

Further, the COAs provide you with a solid understanding of the spectrum of cannabinoids in the product. Most COAs will indicate the total percentage of (dry weight) CBD within a product. Let's say you're examining a bottle of CBD water soluble drops from Hemplicid. You see that the total Cannabinoids for the container is 49.848 mg/ml. This means that there is about 50mg of total useful CBD and CBD related cannabinoids (excluding the fun cousin, THC) in each milliliter (or typically one dropper) of CBD oil from that bottle. More specifically, the total percentage of CBD is 4.97% (total percentage of CBD based upon the dry weight).

When you've checked the data on the COA, you're more apt to discover whether you're really taking a super small dose of CBD or you're taking one adequate to address your particular health concerns. Reverting back to the COA sampled above, we understand that the particular product had 49mg of CBD (rounded down) per dropper from the 1500mg bottle. Since a bottle typically holds 30ml of CBD with the 1ml dispensing dropper, you're likely to get 30 total doses out of the 30ml bottle (about one ounce).

1500mg CBD Hemplucid COA for Hemp

Let's say you ran into an old friend who you've not seen in years. They're bubbling over their new business venture: They're selling Hempworx CBD. The price of the 500mg bottle of Hempworx CBD oil is $69 plus shipping. Your friend tells you that this is the best CBD, hands down. Doing the quick math on the investment for CBD from Hempworx, you're able to find the value at $0.14 per milligram of CBD before shipping cost.

Comparing the cost to a certified organic CBD oil (we're trying to stick to Apples to Apples comparisons here - Hempworx is not certified organic, but they claim to be organic), we can place Hempworx head to head with Nature's Love. The price of the 500mg bottle of Nature's Love CBD oil is $40 plus shipping (but shipping is free if you use a promo code with Carolina Hemp Hut). Running the math for this you'll find $40/500mg=$0.08/milligram of CBD.

We're not claiming superiority of CBD product here, but the math becomes a bit easier for consumers to appreciate once they pull together the answers to the key questions.

Back on the COA, we can see whether the THC (not the THCA) is under the legal limits in your State. In North Carolina, we're required to maintain our product inventory with less than 0.3% of total THC (by dry weight). We are strict about maintaining this compliance as well as making sure we do actively stock LEGAL products with trace THC since THC has been shown to be very beneficial to health (see above pubmed studies).

Finally, you're going to be better off comparing the snake oil products from China and unscrupulous vendors (they're a dime a dozen and popping up in Facebook and elsewhere) before you invest any money. An example of one of the known slimier sellers on the web is one that pops up frequently with MANY different names. They set up a UPS Store mail box in Las Vegas or Chicago or similar, create a website and start creating ads on Facebook and Google searches (against the policies of both). These ads stick around until enough people complain to the platform management. When this happens, they just change the name and launch a new website with a new Post office box in some big city.

Here's an image from one of the slimier sites:

Shark Tank CBD Scam
Shark Tank CBD Scam

The team at Carolina Hemp Hut has been working with authorities and industry leaders to ensure that all products offered under the Carolina Hemp Hut and Hemp Oil Rockstar umbrellas are above-the rest when it comes to product quality, strength, price/affordability and availability.