Scam: Video Warning About Shampoo

A viral video has been circulating since 2014 that purports to show the great danger you'll inflict on yourself if you use certain shampoos on the market. Don't click on the link or fall for the scam: it's a viral hoax. Read on to learn the details behind the video, what folks are saying about it, and the facts of the matter.

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Example Email

Fake image from internet scam claiming shampoo causes skin condition

Below is an example email—essentially just a brief warning with a link to a video—that is fairly representative.

GOVERNMENT WARNING: You Will Never Use This Shampoo After Viewing This Video

The video is followed by comments from viewers such as: "My head is aching after watching this ..." and "Omg I got chills and itches from the picture." This is followed by others who have watched the video debating whether it is real or fake.


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This video and blurb is an example of bait-and-switch tactics that lure users to deceptive websites where they're required to complete marketing surveys and/or download potentially dangerous software to view a promoted video which, in most cases, does not exist.

Users who click through are also required to share the video before viewing it, which is how the blurbs "go viral." It's always a bad idea to comply with such a requirement. Not only do you spam your own friends and expose them to a scam, but you also, in effect, grant scammers access to your Facebook (or other social media) account. Think before you click!

The creepy-looking image used in the image above, supposedly depicting some sort of horrendous skin condition somebody got from using a name-brand shampoo, is a familiar bit of fakery created by combining a photo of human skin with a photo of a lotus seed pod. The medical condition is not real.

Spamming Trick

The website Hoax-Slayer further explains:

The message is a scam designed to trick you into spamming your Facebook friends and participating in bogus online surveys.  The claim that the supposed growth was caused by shampoo is a lie.  Nor is it any sort of “government warning” as claimed in some versions of the scam.  The fake image uses a manipulated picture of a lotus seedpod and is similar to a long running hoax that supposedly depicts a breast rash that harboured live larvae. Do not click any links in this scam message.

Costly Click

Hoax-Slayer explains that, as noted above, when you click on the video, you will often be prompted to take a survey that will ask you to provide your personal information and enter your mobile phone number, supposedly to enter a drawing for various prizes.

Of course, you should never provide any personal information to a website/survey with which you are unfamiliar. Doing so is often a quick path to identity theft. In this case, by submitting your mobile number, you will actually be subscribing to an expensive SMS service where you will be charged several dollars per text message you receive, says Hoax-Slayer. The details you provide can then be shared with other internet marketing groups, and you may subsequently be inundated with unwanted phone calls, emails, and junk mail.