Beauty scam victims speak
A desperate search for the "fountain of youth" has left one Johannesburg woman with stress wrinkles after she was scammed by a bogus beauty brand using actress Sindi Dlathu's image.
A Roodepoort, West Rand, project administrator who only wanted to be identified as Hellen was swindled of almost R1,500 in pursuit of the Nulante anti-aging cream.
Promising many to diminish ageing and get glowing skin without Botox, the fake product uses Dlathu's face, name and brand to lure unsuspecting victims.
Hellen, 42, told Sowetan yesterday she first learnt about Nulante after clicking on a link that led to a blog post about Dlathu's anti-ageing secrets on August 3.
"The headline for the article was that Sindi left Muvhango to pursue her beauty products. It claimed she had launched a skin product and they were using Bonang's [Matheba] name - giving a review of how she had used the product and it worked.
"I idolise Sindi. She's around my age and her skin is beautiful. So, I wanted to look like her if she was using those products."
At the end of the article it provided her with another link on how she can order the product for free for the first time.
However, she needed to pay R94 to ship the product to her. She filled in a form with her personal and banking details to complete the online purchase.
Hellen received confirmation of her order in an email that Sowetan has seen.
She had further email conversations about the delay in delivery and received the following reply: "Thank you for contacting customer care. We sincerely apologise that you have not received your item."
It wasn't until an amount of R1,400 on August 19 was debited from her bank account that she caught onto the scam.
Her bank told her it couldn't reverse the transaction as it was an online purchase and she willingly participated in it.
The fake beauty brand claims to operates in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain and The Philippines.
Facebook has been flooded with complaints from all over the world about the same scam. Nulante is in some cases referred to as Zutrelle.
A KwaZulu-Natal woman, Manee Devi Harriram, claims to have lost over R20,000 to the scam.
"To my surprise not only did I not receive the free sample but the company carried on debiting my card for various items, different all the time, which I never ordered and I have to now pay the bank for those purchases as the company says they have dispatched the goods. I did not order the goods or did I receive them," she wrote on Facebook.
Efforts to contact Harriram were unsuccessful.
Hellen has not opened a police case and does not plan to open one.
Dlathu has distanced herself from Nulante. "It has been brought to my attention that my name, brand and image are being used to promote skin-care products by Nulante Anti-Aging," she said.
"Please take note that I am in no way associated with Nulante Anti-Aging. I have not been involved in the development of their skin range, nor have I endorsed any of the products sold by Nulante Anti-Aging.
"I have not been able to verify any of the information relating to the company or the products it claims to sell, nor am I able to establish who the perpetrators of this conduct are. I am therefore in no position to comment on the legitimacy of the company and its products."
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