Monday, November 13, 2017

Hope In the Fight Against Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have plagued the human race since the days of prehistory. Originally, feeding on the blood of cave-dwelling bats, humans became prey for them when some of our ancestors began using caves as dwelling places and bed bugs found a new source of blood to feed on.

In the West, we almost had bed bugs eliminated through the use of powerful insecticides, such as DDT, until the environmentally-negative effects of DDT became known to us and its use was discontinued. These days, it is a constant struggle to find new weapons to use in what seems to be a never-ending battle against bed bugs, as the insects evolve resistance to pesticides fairly quickly. Despite enormous advances in the creation of new pesticides, bed bugs have again become epidemic in the United States. The only comfort we can take is that they aren't known vectors for any diseases.

For now, certain things remain effective, like heat treatments and enzyme-based insecticides. However, the cost of such treatments puts them out of reach for a lot of people who can't afford the thousands of dollars these treatments cost and there's nothing stopping the bugs from eventually coming back to bite you again in the future. So, repeatedly needing such treatments could become a serious financial drain for people who can't afford it, in addition to the cost of replacing infested furniture and clothes that had been discarded after bed bugs had been found on them.

Low-cost alternatives are often held out to people without high incomes. I felt so proud of myself when I discovered that 91% isopropyl alcohol kills them on contact, but my self-satisfaction was short-lived when I learned that it only kills the adults, while leaving their eggs unscathed. So, I was killing one generation while another was soon to hatch and plague me again. I poured boiling water over the eggs in an attempt to stop the next generation in its tracks, but this was impractical to use in various parts of my home. and I couldn't wash my clothes in water that hot because it would destroy them.

Buying cans of Hot Shots Bed Bug and Flea insect spray proved useless when the bed bugs proved completely immune to it. Raid Ant and Roach was a more effective killer, but I would have clouds of the spray all over my apartment, which was something I wasn't desperate enough to live with for a long time. I found numerous websites offering "guaranteed" methods for winning the fight against bed bugs, but with so many to choose from, I had no way to know which ones really work without trying them all and I didn't want to set myself up for more disappointments.

I finally found the answers I needed in a Facebook group run by a Canadian woman, Septina Samantha Smith. Like me, she tried everything to finally beat her bed bug infestation and met disappointment after disappointment. In the Bed Bug Support & Education Group, Septina provides a forum where people in circumstance similar to her's can ask questions and relate their own struggles against infestations. Members are free to ask questions, offer advice and relate their own experiences in fighting bed bugs. Sometimes, a new member will ask if a particular product works against bed bugs and it's almost guaranteed that someone in the group has already tried it and will say that it doesn't work.

Septina has taken a very scientific approach to the fight, trying various products and methods before finding one that 1) kills bed bugs and their eggs, 2) can be done by anyone and 3) doesn't cost too much. Members have stated that they had paid good money for a professional treatment, only for the infestation to return at a later time, so whatever method was developed would need to be inexpensive and easily done by a layperson.

Septina finally developed what she has called "The Persil Method©". She tried it herself and then asked members of the group to give it a try. Once the method itself was put into its final form, she posted the instructions in the group and you can see her accompanying video here:
If properly done, the Persil Method© will provide a cessation of bed bugs in your home. However, there are no guarantees that they won't return. But, the Method is low-cost and the components are easily obtained. The most important ingredient is Persil detergent, which you can buy at Walmart. If you can't find Persil, Septina recommends you use Tide Pro Clean.

Products like Eco Raider and Nature's Eradicator have received Septina's nod of approval, but they cost more ounce-for-ounce than the detergents I mentioned above. If you've got the cash, get Eco Raider and/or Nature's Eradicator. If you don't, the Persil Method© is the way to go.

So, here's what you should be doing next:

  1. subscribe to Septina's YouTube channel
  2. send a membership request to Bed Bug Support & Education Group 
If you don't have a YouTube account, just watch the videos. But, if you don't have a Facebook account, you'll need to set one up to join the group. If you'd rather not set-up a Facebook account just to join one group, post your questions in my comments section below and I'll pass your questions to her when I get the chance, but it's better if you ask her yourself.

Septina developed The Persil Method©  through trial and error, trying various products, finding what works and discarding what doesn't. She's put a lot of thought and hard work into it.



Duane Browning

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wayne Josephson and TinniStop

After learning about this product in the Tinnitus Talk forums, I did some research on TinniStop and what I found didn't inspire me.
The Inventor

Wayne Josephson is the person claiming to have created TinniStop. To his credit, he actually joined the forums at Tinnitus Talk and responded to criticisms of his product. In my opinion, this puts him a step above other people marketing supposed "cures" for tinnitus because he actually put his own neck on the line with his critics and naysayers. But, he only posted twice in the forum and has been inactive since March 2017.

Like others who claim to have discovered a miraculous cure or treatment for tinnitus, Wayne states that he suffered with tinnitus for years before stumbling upon a treatment he created and is now offering it to others. It would truly be "miraculous" if he didn't make the exact same claim as all the others and say that he came up with TinniStop to help a friend of loved one, but I guess using the same script as everyone else saved him a lot of time trying to invent something new.

Like every other "discoverer of a tinnitus cure" before him, Wayne Josephson has no medical background whatsoever. His actual professions are as an inventor and an author.

Looking through titles with his name credited as an author shows that most of his work consists of updating classic works by other authors with modern language to make them easier for modern readers to comprehend. He also produced two "mashup" works where he combined two books by two separate authors into one book, which puts them on the same level as fanfiction, in my opinion. Books that he wrote entirely by himself didn't impress me with their subject matter.

According to Amazon, Wayne Josephson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University and his Master of Business Administration degree from Wharton. He subsequently worked on Wall Street for twenty years before trying to make his living as an author and successful screenwriter, although I can find no information on exactly what movie scripts he has either written or in which he contributed.

As far as activities outside of writing, I found two LinkedIn profiles of a Wayne Josephson in the Charlottesville, VA area, one of an inventor and the other of an author. On the inventor's profile, it only mentions something called the EZ Scramble, which allows you to make scrambled eggs in your microwave. Wayne Josephson has been involved in three Kickstarter campaigns, attempting to raise money to help get his inventions on the market. However, only two of the three campaigns were successful. The author's profile is pretty blank. Neither LinkedIn profile mentions anything about having worked on Wall Street or about inventing TinniStop. Wayne also has a Facebook page, which hasn't seen new posts since January 2010, with the exception of having posted TinniStop product pictures in December 2016. I'm not friended with him on Facebook, so there might be more content there than I can see. But, it seems really weird that, from what's able to be seen, his profile sat unused for nearly seven years before he embarked on his career with TinniStop.

But, I do have to give credit to Wayne for putting himself out there, making him a better person than just about everyone else who I've blogged about in the past.

Moving on.

Internet Presence

TinniStop is available through its website, which seems well put-together. It's easy to navigate and there are no annoying voice or video recordings to endure.

Curiously, despite Wayne Josephson not being too shy to put himself out there, tinnistop.com is registered anonymously with the registrant being listed as Domains By Proxy and the IP address is out of Canada. The site itself was created in October 2016, which was less than a year before I discovered this product.

TinniStop.com is actually a Shopify site, Shopify being an online marketplace for all kinds of products. This makes sense since it leaves the responsibility of selling the product in the hands of experienced people.

They do have a Facebook page, but it hasn't seen activity since March 2017. Speaking of March 2017, that's also when a number of Twitter posts appeared to hawk the product. I noticed that there wasn't much variation in the text of the posts, almost like the same people were posting about it from various accounts. So, both Facebook and Twitter have been virtually silent about this product since March 2017, which is also when Wayne defended his product in the forums at Tinnitus Talk.

Looking through their Facebook page, I noticed that several of the posts had comments, but most of the comments had been deleted. This makes me think that the comments were either of a negative nature or had asked questions TinniStop didn't want to answer and the comments were removed. This makes TinniStop look like it has something to hide and should give anyone second thoughts of trusting them. If you can't take criticism or probing questions about your product, maybe you shouldn't be selling that product in the first place.

Let's compare TinniStop to a company with whom I've dealings: Hot Shot Insecticides. I posted a decidedly negative review of one of their products, going so far as to state that I would never buy it again. Did they delete my comment? No, they left it up and they courteously responded to me, keeping their replies professional at all times. They behave the same way with everyone who posts negative comments about their products. Do you know why? It's because they're a professional company, run by professional people and they aren't afraid to take questions and criticism.

I'll never buy a Hot Shot Insecticide product again, but I have much more respect for them than whoever is running TinniStop.

The Product

The site likes to mention how TinniStop is registered with the Food and Drug Administration, but a search for its FDA number resulted in finding its listing at the National Institutes of Health, which states:
This homeopathic product has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety or efficacy. FDA is not aware of scientific evidence to support homeopathy as effective.
So, even though TinniStop has an FDA registration, the product itself hasn't been evaluated by the FDA to determine if it works or even if it's safe. This doesn't fill me with confidence toward Wayne Josephson.
Furthermore, TinniStop claims this
TinniStop is manufactured in an FDA registered facility, one of the few authorized homeopathic manufacturing facilities in the United States. Our laboratory follows all current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) as set forth by the Food and Drug Administration.
 Did you notice how they don't tell you exactly where the product is manufactured? Where is this "laboratory" you speak of, Wayne?

Wayne Josephson claims that he discovered the ingredients which would later be incorporated into TinniStop by doing the research himself and using them to treat his own tinnitus. I suppose we'll have to trust him on that. The active ingredients are listed:
  • Causticum 6X: also known as Potassium Hydrate, this is prepared prepared blending slaked lime and sulfate of potash and is a very popular ingredient used in homeopathic remedies, though I couldn't find how anyone but TinniStop relates it to treating tinnitus. It seems that, if you're going to make a homeopathic product, you're going to include this by default. Aside from homeopathy, causticum has no medical uses, as it is caustic;
  • Cocculus Indicus 6X: this site mentions it being used by homeopaths to treat motion sickness. I haven't seen anyone mentioning how it is used to treat tinnitus. It is also known as the Levant berry and does have some serious side effects;
  • Conium Maculatum 6X: also known as poison hemlock. Despite its very poisonous nature, homeopaths sometimes incorporate it into their products. Poison fucking hemlock! Jeez!
Here's something that leaped out at me from the site
Tinnitus Relief Guaranteed

Breakthrough Natural Remedy Proven to Relieve Symptoms

On the back label, this statement is made:
Active ingredients are prepared in accordance with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) and are non-toxic with no known side effects.

Proven by whom? Prepared by whom? Who formulated TinniStop and decided how much of what to put into it? Who did the research to lend any truth to their claim that the product has no side effects? None of that is mentioned.

I could go on all night about how unreliable the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States is, but I'll leave that up to an actual medical doctor. Looking back at the list of the three active ingredients, I'd say that they all have some serious side effects on their own. Of course, it would really depend on how much you ingested, but I'd give some serious thought before I'd use anything with poison hemlock in it.

If there was any doubt that the actual safety and/or efficacy of TiiniStop hasn't actually been established, here is the mandatory disclaimer that they put on their website to escape the wrath of the Food and Drug Administration:
Disclaimer

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
That says it all, right there.
The Company

According to the NIH link for TinniStop I mentioned above, the actual company selling it is Peerless Homeopathic and their mailing address is PO Box 5083, Charlottesville, VA. Okey-dokey, let's look them up.

Hmm.

As I thought, nothing comes up for Peerless Homeopathic or Peerless Labs as a company registered in Virginia. Neither does TinniStop, for that matter.

So, what about that address? As it turns out, that address is registered to the West Point Society of Monticello. I found that same address in the Society's 2017 report and in their business registration.

It's possible - even, likely - that the information given for TinniStop on the NIH link was a misprint. Another product sold by them is called DriNites (supposedly to cure bed wetting) and the link for that product gives its address as PO Box 5038, as it also does for their homeopathic weight loss product 29Again. so, either TinniStop provided the wrong PO Box number or the NIH webmaster made an error. Whatever.

Conclusions

In my opinion, TinniStop is just another one of those schemes that claim to "cure" or "treat" tinnitus using "natural" products, even though none of their claims have been validated by scientific testing. These people mix-up some homeopathic ingredients and we're supposed to take their word for it that the ingredients are effective, in the right proportions and that they were prepared in a hygienic facility by professionals.

What do they offer as proof of efficacy? Testimonials posted on their website, which can't be independently verified. Anecdotal evidence is completely useless to definitively verify whether a pharmaceutical product is either safe or effective. It needs to be subjected to rigorous scientific testing in a laboratory under controlled conditions.

To appropriate the Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #109 for the purposes of this review:
"Anecdotal evidence and an empty sack is worth the sack."
If you want to take a chance and buy TinniStop, I can't stop you. After all, it's only about $20 and you get free shipping, with a money back guarantee. It's entirely your business if you want to buy the product, discover it didn't meet your expectations and then try to get your money back. Personally, I don't want to go through all that trouble.

But, understand that this company is extremely opaque in its dealings and isn't even a registered business in Virginia, so there's no corporate accountability. Aside from what looks like the wrong address posted on the NIH site, the only way they provide to contact them is via the contact page on their website or through a toll-free number. We don't yet know who's really behind it. Even if they provided us with a valid PO Box number, no physical address is given, which gives them a pretty good level of protection in the event that someone would try to initiate legal proceedings against them if using the product actually causes someone physical harm or if TinniStop didn't refund their money.

In my opinion, their spokesman/inventor, Wayne Josephson, looks like a person whose career as an author and inventor hasn't turned-out the way he probably hoped and has apparently embarked on TinniStop in order to actually amount to something.

There's nothing new here with TinniStop. It's just another scheme where they try to convince people with tinnitus that they can cure or treat their tinnitus naturally. People like this hold out the hope that your suffering can end and your life can go back to normal, but their claims are based on nothing more than their say-so and that's just not good enough for me.


Duane Browning

Monday, October 23, 2017

Looking At Silencis Pro

Around the same time that Tinnitus Terminator was biting the dust, a new "treatment" for tinnitus became known to me: Silencis Pro.

Like other supposed "treatments" and "cures", these people claim to have found the answers that had eluded some very well-educated and dedicated people researching the causes of tinnitus.

My first exposure to Silencis Pro occurred when I clicked on a link at the bottom of a news article that I had thought may have been for Tinnitus Terminator. But, it turned-out to be an entirely new product.

The link led to a website where an audio recording played with their sales pitch. Fortunately, they also have a page where you can read their speech, rather than have to listen to it. I'd rather be able to read the speech, rather than have to endure the speaker's prattling.

Here's a quote:
Something (i.e. tinnitus) so dangerous that recent medical studies now pin it as an early indicator of disorders like memory loss, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's...
This statement is simply untrue and is apparently intended to induce panic in people who have a particularly hard time living with tinnitus. Notice how they don't tell you which studies make that claim, they simply state it as fact and expect you to accept it. Yes, tinnitus can be a symptom of another ailment, but not Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Go to this page to get some facts.

Silencis Pro's claim that tinnitus is more like a warning alarm going-off, telling you that there is some serious underlying illness affecting your body isn't even a new claim made by people selling these products. Back in March 2015, I blogged about "Tinnitus Miracle" who pretty much said the same thing.

The people behind Silencis Pro seem to have no problem being deceptive, as the above quote shows. But, it doesn't stop there.

This picture is from their website. the bearded man in the picture is supposed to be Charles W. Brighton, the head of research at the Institute for Hearing Performance.
However, this picture is actually clip art, as you can see for yourself at this link. Outside of anything to do with Silencis Pro, I could find no reference anywhere to a medical researcher named Charles W Brighton. Given that they used clip art, rather than an actual picture of him, I think we can safely assume that he doesn't exist.

As far as the Institute for Hearing Performance, their website looks like a blog where articles related to their claimed expertise are posted. No information is provided regarding any of the other researchers who supposedly work there. The only person for whom you have a full name is Charles W Brighton, who might not even be a real person.

So, who are the people selling Silencis Pro? At the bottom of the Silencis Pro website is this statement:
This website is property of:
Functional and Restorative Medicine LLC
8 The Green Suite #6549
Dover, DE 199901
United States
Okay, so, who or what is Functional and Restorative Medicine LLC? Finding their website was easy enough. They describe themselves thus:
Functional and Restorative Medicine LLC is a health company that whole-heartedly invests in people and natural innovations. We discover and promote powerful alternative solutions, constantly challenging the medical fields where the traditional way of thinking left no room for trust.
A "health company", not a medical research company.

As far as their position on the use of pharmaceutical drugs, here's their statement:
Not one of our solutions is drug-based. Yet, they all have one thing in common: they’re the result of in-depth medical research. Since the human body craves for organic healing, we focus on the essential connection between our organism and nature. We thoroughly test each ingredient and pair it with efficient health protocols.
So, they don't use the standard drugs for medical conditions for which they claim to have treatments. In short, they aim to treat medical conditions with so-called "natural remedies", as you can see from the list of ingredients contained in Silencis Pro. They also don't mention exactly who did the "medical research", though I suppose that we're to assume that it was done in the laboratories of  the Institute for Hearing Performance. This product isn't even labelled as a drug, but as a supplement, which allows them to skirt any sort of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, they even include this legally-required disclaimer on their site:
All statements and results presented on this website are for informational purposes only. They are not specific medical advice for any individual. Neither the website, nor product should substitute medical advice given by a certified health professional. If you have a health problem, or you have sensible allergies, are pregnant or diagnosed with chronic conditions, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor immediately and before taking any pills or supplements.

The statements presented here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of this website and the product should not substitute medical advice from a health professional. If you have a health problem, speak to your doctor or a health professional immediately about your condition. Individual results may vary depending on the case. Read more here.
It is worth noting that the actual bottles of the Silencis Pro supplement aren't sold directly by the people behind the website. A copy of a sales receipt was found here and the company that actual bills people who make a purchase is LiveLong Solutions which is a Delaware company that sells numerous other health supplements, in addition to Silencis Pro. Any returns from dissatisfied customers are to be sent to 37 Inverness Drive East, Suite 100, Englewood, Colorado, 80112 and the company at the receiving end is ShipOffers, another company that ships health supplements.

Notice that both companies responsible for sending/receiving Silencis Pro are health supplement companies, not pharmaceutical companies, which again allows Silencis Pro to skip around FDA regulations.

The Websites

Doing a WHOIS check on their assorted websites yields some interesting results
https://functionalandrestorativemedicine.com/
Registrant Name: Patrick Schwartzman
Registrant Organization: Functional and Restorative Medicine LLC
Registrant Street: 8 The Green Suite #6540
Registrant City: Dover
Registrant State/Province: DE
Registrant Postal Code: 19901
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.30227244816

https://thesilencispro.net/
Registrant Name: Oliver Williams
Registrant Organization: Functional and Restorative Medicine LTD
Registrant Street: 4th Floor 7/10 Chandos Street Cavendish Square
Registrant City: London
Registrant State/Province: Greater London
Registrant Postal Code: W1G 9DQ
Registrant Country: GB
Registrant Phone: +1.30227244816

https://instituteforhearingperformance.com/
Registrant Name: Oliver Williams
Registrant Organization: Functional and Restorative Medicine LTD
Registrant Street: 4th Floor 7/10 Chandos Street Cavendish Square
Registrant City: London
Registrant State/Province: Greater London
Registrant Postal Code: W1G 9DQ
Registrant Country: GB
Registrant Phone: +1.30227244816

https://silencispro.net/
Registrant Name: Oliver Williams
Registrant Organization: Functional and Restorative Medicine LTD
Registrant Street: 4th Floor 7/10 Chandos Street Cavendish Square
Registrant City: London
Registrant State/Province: Greater London
Registrant Postal Code: W1G 9DQ
Registrant Country: GB
Registrant Phone: +1.30227244816
So, of the four websites I could find associated with Silencis Pro, only one is registered in the United States.

Where Are They, Really?

The listing for the London Company, Functional and Restorative Medicine LTD, can be seen here and its three company officers aren't even British citizens. Two are Romanian and one is Singaporean. So, it's possible, even likely, that "Oliver Williams" may not even be a real person either. I'm wondering if the Brexit vote and the impending departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union may have had something to do with the Romanian citizens deciding to get out of Dodge City by sunset. I wouldn't be surprised if all website registrations will be switched over to American registrants pretty soon.

The Delaware company, Functional and Restorative Medicine LLC, was easily found via its business registration in that state. The registered agent is an anonymous company that uses the same address on the WHOIS for functionalandrestorativemedicine.com and was only incorporated there in June 2017. A company with the exact same name (not an uncommon occurrence) was also incorporated in Florida back in February 2015.
Legal Stuff

I realize that Silencis Pro stated on their Disclaimer page that copying any portion of their site constitutes copyright infringement. However, this blog entry claims protection under Federal Fair Use guidelines and you can also read this for more information.

In short, for the purposes of commentary or criticism of a copyrighted work, I am allowed to copy certain portions of said work without the permission of the copyright holder.

So, there!

A Final Word

I've seen a lot of these supposed "cures" and "treatments" being sold for tinnitus ever since I started blogging about these people. Having tinnitus myself, I have a vested interest in a real cure being found and I get really annoyed at all the bullshit out there.

But, I have to admit that Silencis Pro certainly has done a better job of establishing an Internet Presence than any of the other products I've looked at, so far. The sheer amount of time it must have taken to set all this up and keep it updated must have been substantial. The websites look well-done and the supply chain is well-established. They even a Facebook page, though they don't have very many Likes on it and they haven't posted anything on it since August 2017. Unlike other products, these guys haven't flooded Twitter with spam tweets yet and I am grateful for that. I guess they won't be using multi-level marketing to sell this stuff, like Tinnitus Terminator did.

There is a single video posted on YouTube which uses a very annoying computer voice, which I found so God damned annoying that I had to click away. Thankfully, there don't appear to be any others.

So, Silencis Pro isn't repeating the mistakes of the other products I've blogged about in the past, which reminds me of the saying, "A wise man learns from his mistakes. But, a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.".

While I honestly believe that using Silencis Pro would do me as much good as drinking my own urine, I have to give the Devil his due and take my hat off to the hardworking people at Silencis Pro.


Duane Browning

Saturday, August 5, 2017

National Reply Center

Yesterday, I received a rather innocuous letter in my mailbox. There was no name of sender for the return address, which was given simply as:
123-B Sunrise Center Dr.
Thomasville, NC 27360
The exterior of the envelope mentioned a "Free Walmart© Gift Certificate To Senior Citizens Ages 50 to 80", which set-off some alarm bells for me because such offers are typically part of a scam. But, having little else to do, I opened the envelope and had a look at the contents.

Inside, I found a yellow card which said:
"2017 Benefit Information for Hawaii Citizens Only

You may qualify for a state-regulated program to pay for your final expenses regardless of your medical condition, even if you have been turned down before.

It is important you know how to qualify for this benefit available to you. This benefit will pay for 100% of all funeral expenses up to $35,000. This payment is tax-free for Hawaii residents. You are entitled to receive no-cost information as a resident of Hawaii.

IMPORTANT - Return this postage-paid card within 5 days and receive a FREE WALMART© GIFT CARD."

I was given this address to which I would mail the card in order to claim my Walmart card:
National Reply Center
PO Box 46715
Greensboro, NC 27499-3876
 
So, the return address is in Thomasville, NC in Davidson County, but the address given for me to send back the card is in Greensboro, NC in Guilford County. These two cities are about 25 miles apart. While the Thomasville address is a real building address, the Greensboro address is a Post Office box, which is typical for junk-mailers who want to avoid getting packages of dog shit delivered to their own home or office from people angry about getting this kind of stuff in their mail. The postmark is from Greensboro. 

The sender appears to a company called Leads 2 Success, which specializes in bulk mailing on behalf of insurance companies who are looking for new customers. I can only assume that they got my current home address by purchasing it from other companies with whom I have done business in the past, so there's nothing illegal going-on here. While they are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, that agency did give them a B- rating. The BBB page for Leads 2 Success lists two complaints posted by people who had received letters similar mine, but none from insurance companies who are Leads 2 Success clients. Leads 2 Success also has a Yelp page which does have comments posted by people with whom they've done business.

In regards to the "National Reply Center' in Greensboro. The Better Business Bureau gives them an F rating, which tells me something right away. This is NOT a company with whom you should do business or trust with your personal information. There are complaints going back several years against these people, as far back as 2006! The website ComplaintsBoard.com has a long list of posts from people angry about receiving unsolicited mail from National Reply Center and some of these complaints are rather unsettling, with people reporting that they had sent the card back with the requested information and someone actually came to their home in an attempt to sell them insurance!

These people seem to be very suspicious and more than a little dishonest. According to this report, National Reply Center used to have its mailing address - another Post Office box - out of Indianapolis, where they also received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau in Indiana. In fact, they've used Post Office boxes as their sole means of receiving replies for as long as I can see, ranging from Indiana, to Missouri, to North Carolina and perhaps others. They've switched from using one PO box to another in the same city, possibly in response to receiving angry letters from people who had received their junk mail.

Locating the exact physical location of the PO box wasn't difficult, I was able to find it here:
GREENSBORO POST OFFICE
201 N MURROW BLVD
GREENSBORO, NC 27401

But, don't think that solves your problems. Even knowing the physical address of the PO box doesn't tell you who owns it. While getting the location was easy, finding-out who registered it is very difficult. In order to get the name and physical address of the people who registered it, you'd need to initiate some sort of legal action against them in the courts. You may wish to call the post office in Greensboro at 336-668-1375 with your complaint or try the US Postal Service's Customer Service at 800-275-8777 if contacting the Greensboro Post Office doesn't work well for you.

This may be interesting to you: Haberstroh Insurance Agency (doing business as National Reply Center) was fined by the Social Security Administration and you can read the story for more information. According to the Better Business Bureau website, National Reply Center used several Post Office box addresses while in the area of Bridgeton, MO which is also where Haberstroh is located. I've read variant accounts of this story, with the linked article indicating that National Rely Center was the dba of Haberstroh, while another story stated that Haberstroh was working with NRC. I have no idea if Haberstroh is still associated with National Reply Center.

Even the gift cards being offered seem to vary with the location of the recipient. While I and others received a Walmart gift card offer, other people received an offer for a McDonalds gift card. Despite the promise stated in the mailing, the actual value in US dollars of the gift card is never mentioned. So, National Reply Center could actually send you a gift card worth $1 or less and they wouldn't have actually lied to you, but I haven't seen any reports from anyone stating that they actually received the promised gift card.

I'm going to contact the Greensboro Post Office on Monday about this. If that doesn't work out for me, I may take it upstairs to the US Postmaster General. If neither of those gives me the results I want, I do have other options which I will explain in updates to this blog.


Duane Browning


Saturday, May 6, 2017

I Got a Call from 757-302-5667

 A few days ago, my voicemail recorded this message that was obviously sent from a robo-caller:
“Hi this is Bob I'm following up with you regarding the business opportunity um my number is 757-302-5667 we did want to get a hold of you to make sure that you're aware there is an expiration date on the products and services that we provide and we want to get you involved right away today please give me a call at 757-302-5667"
Not knowing who "Bob" is, but immediately realizing that he was full of shit, I called him back using a burner phone I keep for such occasions and heard this recorded message. I transcribed it as best as I could, but "Bob's" delivery is rather amateurish:
"Thank you for your interest in our business opportunity!

This is a twenty year old established, international company that launched an FDA registered patented medical device with impressive endorsements and massive R and D research behind it in North America.

It's already being used in over 4000 hospitals and clinics in Europe and this product is loaded with credibility and sales are destined to explode in the United States in a short period of time.

Part-time, full-time and regional management opportunities are available and there's already staggering incomes being generated.

With over one million units sold overseas markets, with less than a .08% return rate - that's less than 1% - and mind-blowing results, you cannot miss with this opportunity.

We want you. You've listened to our messages, you've heard what we've had to say, but now it's your turn to leave your name, your phone number and a brief message and we will contact you in a short period of time.

Again, leave your name and phone number and we'll contact you in a short period of time.

There's over a thousand brand-name athletes calling this revolutionary patented medical device 'their secret weapon' and we want you to sell it for us. NASA just signed a collaboration contract to use this technology in their space suits.

To receive a private invitation to our next upcoming webinar, please respond. By leaving your name and phone number and you can leave your email address and we will send you a link to that webinar.

Again, leave your name, phone number and email address and we'll get right back to you."

This sounded like just another multi-level marketing scheme making its way around the Internet. What drew my interest in it was the noted lack of details regarding what the product is or even the name of the company behind it all. If you're trying to sell a product or trying to recruit others to sell it for you, details like those would likely be the first things you'd share. The only way for me to get that information is to give them my name, phone number and email address, which they could then sell to other multi-level marketers who might want to contact me in the future.

Not wanting to sit and wait for specifics to come from these people, I put my Googling Skillz to work.

It wasn't long before I learned that the company behind the intrusion into my voicemail is called BEMER.

I found this Craigslist ad seeking people to sell it and the text of the ad reads very closely to the speech given at the number I called. Like the recorded messages, the ad does not identify the company or tell us what the product does, though it does refer to their product as being a type of "electroceutical", which I guess means that it uses electrical pulses as a form of physical therapy, though the method isn't specified.

I kept looking and soon found this Facebook post which also read like the recorded messages and the Craigslist post. Looking through the timeline of Hugo Natural Health Center, I found repeated references to BEMER. In fact, Hugo Natural Health Center is quite evangelical about it. I decided to look at this to see if I had found this mysterious "electroceutical" device Bob was talking about.

Going to the American website for this company, it seems legitimate enough and they do encourage you to check PubMed for scientific studies that validate that their product does provide medical relief for users. Trying to actually find these studies in the search results is a bit challenging, due to the number of people named "Bemer", but you can find them, as few as they are.

But, most non-scientists don't know how to properly read a paper from a scientific journal and may be overwhelmed by the repeated use of scientific terminology. So, while interesting, they don't really give laymen much information with which to make an educated judgement on whether or not they might want to sell these products. If you have a friend or relative with an education in medicine, then you could have them look the papers over for you. Otherwise, you're out of your league.

It would be interesting to have a scientist with appropriate background look through those studies and provide their observations in terms a layman would be able to understand. I tried my best, but the only parts I hoped to fathom were the Conclusions, which usually include the words "more studies are needed" somewhere in the text. 

But, let's look at it from an angle we can all relate to: why would BEMER want to take an average person, without the background education needed to actually understand how and why the product works, to go out and try to sell them? Promises of "staggering incomes" may entice some people into it, only to discover that they were in over their heads and trying to sell something they actually know very little about.

Seriously, how am I go to sell something that I don't even understand? I don't understand auto mechanics either, so I wouldn't make a good car salesman. BEMER is looking for people to sell a medical device who probably don't even have a basic understanding of medical technology!

And these products are expensive, ranging anywhere from $4,290 for the Classic Set to $5,990 to the Pro Set, putting it out of range for most people. I still remember those home gyms people were buying in the 80s and 90s, with the big price tags that people used once or twice before putting it in storage to gather dust. BEMER has competitors selling similar products that are much cheaper, though I'm not claiming those products are as good or better.

What about what BEMER says about itself, apart from all the claims of benefits for users of its products? Well, to discover the answer to that question, you practically have to dig through the website for the answer, because it is buried deep, deep, fucking deep where most people would have a hard time even finding it.

You have to go to this page, scroll to the bottom and click on "Terms and Conditions" where a pop-up displays the "BEMER USA, LLC., Customer Terms & Conditions (USA)". 
First, look at section 8 "Customer/Ibd Responsibility and Waiver and Consent", subsections 3 and 4:
3. I understand the product(s) purchased from BEMER are not intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, cure, or mitigation of any specific disease.
4. I acknowledge that BEMER does not practice medicine.
I assume that an IBD is an Independent BEMER Distributor.


Then, go down to section 9 "Disclaimer: Health Related Information" and you will see this:
The BEMER Pro-Set and BEMER Classic-Set are an FDA registered medical device class 1. All information presented by BEMER is intended to be used for educational and/or informational purposes only. BEMER products are in no way a substitute for professional medical care. There are no health benefit claims being made concerning BEMER products. Statements made have not been evaluated by the FDA or other governmental agencies and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical conditions or diseases. All testimonials express the opinion and experiences of customers, IBD and not that of BEMER. The word therapy used herein is not used to refer to any medical therapy but to general non-medical therapy, e.g., aroma therapy or exercise therapy. Do not use the information for diagnosing or treating any health problems or diseases. Please consult with your own physician or healthcare practitioner if you have medical concerns.
 So, there it is, BEMER itself admits that their products aren't meant as a treatment for any particular disease or physical ailment, regardless of what their sales representatives tell you.

"But, wait!", you might be saying now "What about their contract with NASA?".

What about it? NASA has contracts with a lot of companies and BEMER doesn't provide any specifics about what their supposed "contract" involves. Here's a site that discuses this supposed "agreement" in detail and you can look over the homepage at your leisure.

As far as the the thousand athletes calling this thing their "secret weapon"? Obviously, it's not much of a secret if a thousand people are talking about it. Besides, the names of the athletes aren't provided, so who cares?

If BEMER is going to claim that over 4000 hospitals and clinics in Europe are using their product, how about providing us with the names of these institutions, so that they can be contacted and this claim verified?

As the Internet often says: Pics or it didn't happen.


In Conclusion

The whole sales pitch I heard from "Bob" sounded just like the kind of bullshit I've heard from people trying to lure me into selling Herbalife: make big money, high tech, lots of credibility, blah, blah, blah.

Real medical technology companies don't take John Q Citizen off the street and get him selling their products to friends and family. No, they send their representatives to companies and organizations that run hospitals and laboratories to show them their product and its documentation. Those companies and organizations then look over the data and make the decisions whether or not to sign a contract.

That's how it's done in Real Life.


Duane Browning

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Is Samir Chachoua For Real?

Samir "Sam" Chachoua has been a topic of conversation ever since Charlie Sheen visited Chachoua's clinic in Mexico in a search a cure to his HIV infection. He received another boost in visibility when he was a guest on Bill Mahers "Real Time" in 2016.

I'm not going to discuss Dr Chachoua's claims that he actually offers a cure for AIDS, cancer, etc because that has already been done by people with actual medical expertise. Neither will I discuss Chachoua's claim that he rid Comoros of HIV, which he didn't.

No, I'm going to discuss some of the claims that Sam Chachoua has made about himself that make my Bullshit Detector go off.

The Life and Background of Dr Samir Chachoua

First, trying to get any specific details about Samir Chachoua himself is quite difficult, since he reveals very little about himself. What little is said about his early life is only that which he or his supporters mention in efforts to make him look like the greatest medical genius who ever lived.

What can be established without a doubt is that Dr Samir Chachoua graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor of Surgery (BS) from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 1984. In Australia, these two degrees are always awarded together and they are the equivalent of receiving an MD in the United States. So, yes, he does have a medical degree. As far as the claim that he graduated "with honors", there is no documented evidence that this is true. It might be true or it might not. However, his registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency expired in October 2016, so he cannot practice medicine in Australia until he renews it.

In fact, a person claiming to be Dr Chachoua's biographer claimed that Sam obtained his degree at the age of eighteen, without providing evidence that this is true. Samir Chachoua doesn't even make the list of people who received doctorate degrees at a very young age. The youngest person to ever receive his medical degree is Balamurali Ambati who graduated at the age of seventeen, though he didn't actually complete his education until twenty-four. Even if Samir Chachoua did receive his medical degree at 18, it really wouldn't mean anything, since his medical training was still incomplete. No information is given regarding where Chachoua did his internship or residency, so even having his diploma doesn't mean that his education was complete.

Samir Chachoua has mentioned that his inspiration that led him to go into medicine was seeing his father die of multiple myeloma. However, his father's name is never given and neither is his mother's. His father was only identified by his profession as an oncologist. The only specific information about his family history is that he's part-Mexican and speaks Spanish fluently, which is apparently one reason why he opened a clinic in Mexico.

Although it doesn't matter in regards to his personal credibility, the name "Chachoua" is actually an Algerian name and most people with that surname live in either Algeria or France. His registration with the AHPRA indicates that he speaks Arabic and Hebrew, but no mention is made of him being fluent in Spanish.
What is never mentioned is how Sam is able to operate a clinic in Mexico. His MB/BS came from an Australian university, not a Mexican one and there is a complicated procedure for medical doctors with foreign degrees to come to Mexico and practice medicine. Neither Chachoua nor his supporters mention how he received approval to operate a clinic. If he didn't go through the procedures laid-out by the Mexican authorities and opened a clinic anyway, then he could be operating the clinic illegally.

We are even left in the dark about Dr Samir Chachoua's age. You would think that would be a big deal, but Chachoua doesn't even tell people how old he is. However, a website article published in 2001 gave his age as being forty. Assuming that the article wasn't rounding-up, that would mean Sam Chachoua was born in/around the year 1961.

But, that presents a problem, since his AHPRA listing indicates that he received his degree in 1984, when he would have been 23, not age 18 as his supposed biographer claims.
A Dead Man Walking?

There have been repeated claims that Dr Chachoua was the intended target of a car bomb attack. However, the date and location of this supposed attack has never been given. We are simply supposed to take his word for it. If the bombing occurred in Mexico over the past few years, it could simply have been a part of the Mexican government's ongoing war with the drug cartels, with Chachoua having been in the vicinity of the attack without his actually being the intended target. But, that's just a guess on my part because we're not told when or where the alleged bombing took place.

When I asked for the specific dates and locations of these supposed attempts on Dr Chachoua's life, David responded by blocking me. It's also rather funny that, despite David's claim to be Dr Chachoua's biographer, he isn't one of the people Chachoua follows on Twitter.

That's just the most outrageous claim put forward by Chachoua and his supporters: that his goat milk treatment is so dangerous to the profit margins of Big Pharma that they've actually tried to have him killed. I guess these people really aren't too savvy about how professional hitmen operate. In the current environment of Mexico's war with the cartels, it would be child's play to have had Chachoua killed, if Darth Pharma really wanted it done. Even if Big Pharma didn't want to hire a cartel enforcer, there are plenty of people out there who could have done the job and it wouldn't have been very expensive.

So, unless someone is going to provide me with actual evidence that Chachoua has, in fact, been the intended target of three attempts on his life, I'll judge this claim to be Total Bullshit!

In fairness, a news report did surface in June 2015, where Dr Chachoua accused Charlie Sheen of hiring some men to beat him up. Reading through the story, I was amazed at how these supposed hired thugs would be so incompetent to send text messages to their boss using Chachoua's cell phone and then to leave the cell phone behind when they got away. The police report filed with the Mexican authorities is available at this link. There's so much about the news report that smacks of fakery, in my opinion. But, in the interest of fairness, I mention it here.

When you think about it, it doesn't really make sense for anyone to try to kill Samir Chachoua. After all, his "treatment" is rather expensive, according what I've read, which puts it out of the reach of most people. Instead, you'd think that the evil drug companies would be bumping-off faith healers. Faith healers still cost a lot of people money, but not as much as Sam could. When Peter Popoff was out there claiming to heal people of all sorts of ailments, why didn't Big Pharma have him killed?

I'll tell you why: you have as much of a chance of getting cured by Peter Popoff as you do by Samir Chachoua, which is none.

Moving on.

Martyred by the Legal System?

Dr Chachoua and his supporters like to claim the Chachoua did not succeed in his legal case against Cedar-Sinai because of judicial corruption and the use of violence against Dr Chachoua himself.
While I do not have access to the case file for Chachoua's lawsuit against Cedar-Sinai, there is a way to find out how the judge came to her decision to dismiss the case. Sam was later sued by one of the attorneys who had represented him in that case. Dr Chahchoua seemed to play musical chairs with his attorneys, which is a tactic sometimes employed in court cases in an effort to cause the case to drag on longer than it really requires. In civil cases, it's sometimes a tool used to cause the opposing party to have to spend more money on their own legal representatives, in the hopes that they may decide to cut their financial losses and settle the case. If that's what Chachoua was planning, it didn't succeed.

Chachoua's former attorney, Jean Marie Hansen, sued Chachoua over legal fees, which Sam refused to pay. Since lawyers expect to be paid for their services, she took him to court. The following in excerpted from the "Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgement as to Complaint and Denying as Moot Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim" from pages five and six in Hansen's case against Chachoua. The words "the California action" in the quotation below refer to Chachoua's unsuccessful case against Cedar-Sinai:
As Judge Morrow stated in denying Chachoua’s motion to reconsider her dismissal of the California action, the central reasons why the action was dismissed were:
[Chachoua’s] consistent refusal to comply with court orders regarding representation; his pattern of using medical excuses as a device to prolong the action unnecessarily, avoid appearances for deposition or other court proceedings, and obtain continuances at the last minute; and his pattern of substituting counsel in order to secure deadline extensions or continuances of potentially dispositive proceedings.
See Pl.’s Mot. for Default Judgment Ex. A at 11.  Reading the Ninth Circuit’s opinion,
Judge Morrow’s decisions in the California case, and the transcript of the  proceedings on
November 13, 2001, when Judge Morrow dismissed the action based on Chachoua’s failure to appear for the second trial, the Court is struck by how similar Chachoua’s dilatory tactics and manipulation of the judicial system have been in that action and the matter pending before this Court.
In case you haven't guessed, Chachoua also lost the case against Hansen.


Where's the Paper Trail?

When attempting to judge whether a scientist, including medical doctors, really know what they're talking about, a good way to determine that is to see how often they have published research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Publication, by itself, isn't always a good meter to use; it's also important to see how many other researchers in their field have cited their papers in subsequent publications.

As far as I can tell, Dr Samir Chachoua hasn't had any research papers published in peer-reviewed journals, which automatically makes me doubt if he really has the medical chops to backup his claims. On a now-defunct website, apparently created by Chachoua to answer his critics, he claims to have published scientific papers in various journals. In response to a claim by Stephen Barrett, M.D. that Chachoua has never published, Chachoua said this:
1.) Your claim that I have never published.
I published at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, PRECIS and other articles you may not have found on the Internet.
The names that follow mine and yes, I was 17 when it was presented for review and a year older when it was published. The names that follow mine were and are the biggest in cancer research and the institutes: The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne University, Peter McCallum Cancer Institute and The Walter Eliza-Hall Institutes are the Australian equivalent of the MAYO Clinic or UCLA, and they are internationally known Institutes where my work was done.
If Dr Sam was going to claim to have published papers in science journals, it would have been nice if he had given the specific dates when his papers saw the light of day, as well as the names of the journals in which they were printed. Just throwing names out there doesn't count as proof; I'd like to know specifics.

Let's clear something up regarding scientific papers published in peer-review journals:
Initially getting the paper published is just the first hurdle. The paper is reviewed by other researchers in that specific field before it ever goes into print. If it get published, it will subsequently be read by other researchers in that field who will then conduct their own research in an effort to either confirm its findings or to refute them. Scientists conducting experiments is related field may even cite this paper in order to backup claims in the own studies.

So, if Chachoua got his papers published, what was the reaction from the general scientific community? Did they conduct their own studies and confirm them or did their research reveal Chachoua's findings were completely wrong? We won't know until Sam tells us which journals published his findings and when they did so.

Just getting published in a journal isn't automatic evidence that you're right. After all, well-known fraud Andrew Wakefield got published and the medical researchers ended-up tearing him a new asshole.

Validation by Social Media

Instead of telling us where his medical research was published in peer review journals, Dr Chachoua uses his Twitter account and YouTube channel to provide us with patient testimonials to validate his claims.

Patient testimonials are completely useless for validating any sort of research. You could have thousands of people claiming that they were cured of some disease by Dr Chachoua and it wouldn't mean anything unless the claims could be validated and replicated in a controlled experiment. You could find as many people claiming to have been cured by a faith healer and it wouldn't make it true either.

Chachoua's use of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook is simply a lazy way for him to advertise himself. His website http://drsamchachoua.com/ is still active, though it doesn't seem to get as much attention as his social media accounts and the website http://watchingthequackwatchers.com which was created specifically to answer claims by Quackwatch has recently been suspended, for reasons unknown.

I also need to mention that both drsamchachoua.com and watchingthequackwatchers.com are registered anonymously.

In Bed with Multi-Level Marketers?

At the bottom of Samir Chachoua's main website, you see this:
Site Owner: Jeunesse Institute MRF Corporation
5Ta Avenida 5-55 Ciudad de Guatemala, 01014
Guatemala, Centro America
Contact: Dr. E. Alves – Director

So, who is Jeunesse Institute MRF Corporation? They are a corporation registered in Panama. I gave a link above to a lawsuit where Samir Chachoua and the Jeunesse Institute were co-defendants with others in a fraud case that was filed in 2008, stemming from someone actually dying while undergoing an allegedly Chachoua-advocated "treatment". Other defendants in the case include Jeunesse Cosmetics Company Pty. LTD., Jeunesse Foundation, Jeunesse Global Holdings, Jeunesse Institute and Jeunesse Trust.

So, what kind of company is Jeunesse? A medical research company that's a leading force in the latest scientific breakthroughs?

Don't be a silly goose! They're a cosmetics company.

Yeah, a company that sells skin care products via multi-level marketing is running Samir Chachoua's website. Think about that.

Okay, what about that address, 5Ta Avenida 5-55 Ciudad de Guatemala, 01014? Well, Jeunesse doesn't seem to have an office at the business plaza located there, so they're either using another business' address as their own or it's a mail box. Not exactly a confidence-booster, is it?

Not Even China Will Copy It

The Chinese are notorious for copying Western-designed products. Whether it's electronics, toys, motor vehicles, clothes, whatever product is known to work and is in demand, China will copy it and then sell it.

Western companies, including such juggernauts as Apple and Microsoft, have been mostly unsuccessful in stopping the production of copycat products in China. A Western corporation is almost entirely powerless against an unsympathetic Chinese government and legal system.

So, let's say, for the sake of argument, that Dr Sam Chachoua's scheme actually works. Okay? Let's pretend it does, just for shits and giggles.

If it works, then why haven't the Chinese copied it? Seriously, they can copy anything else, almost exactly, why not copy Chachoua's treatment program, if it worked? It's not like Sam Chachoua could stop them; he couldn't even win a court case against Cedar-Sinai or even his former attorney. So, how could he possibly prevail against the Chinese government? The Chinese judges, on the payroll of the Chinese Communist Party, would laugh Sam out of court. Then, they'd start selling treatments to anyone with money to pay and the willingness to travel to China. Imagine how much money China could make providing the treatment to ailing foreigners, as well as their own citizens with life-threatening diseases.

But, they haven't copied him and I doubt they ever will. The reason is obvious: Sam Chachoua's system doesn't work and the Chinese government isn't going to invest the time and money to copy his bullshit program.

When your product is too crappy for even the Chinese to steal and copy, it's a sign that your product is worthless.

Final Thoughts

I'll keep doing more research as time allows, but I don't know what else I could add to all this.

Here is an encapsulation of my observations regarding Dr Samir "Sam" Chachoua:
  1. he deliberately keeps us in the dark about his personal, educational and professional background;
  2. his medical claims are not supported by medical science;
  3. he makes unsubstantiated claims about attempts on his life;
  4. he falsely claims to be the victim of a corrupt legal system in the United States, when it's obvious that he lost the cases against Cedar-Sinai and Jean Marie Hansen due entirely to his own actions;
  5. he has submitted no research papers to the peer-review journals for his medical colleagues to examine;
  6. he relies heavily upon social media to broadcast his message in an attempt to lure desperate people to seek treatment from him, rather than by developing his reputation by professional research and affiliation;
  7. he is linked to a multi-level marketing company that sells skincare products, rather than a hospital, university or medical research company;
  8. his treatment program is so useless that even China won't steal and copy it.
I've lost numerous relatives to cancer. I've seen the pain, suffering and fear that they endured. The available medical science of the time did what it could for them. While it could prolong their lives, ultimately, it couldn't save them.

With that said, I have nothing but contempt for people who offer fake cures, not only for cancer, but also for diabetes, AIDS and numerous other diseases and conditions.

Until Dr Samir Chachoua can scientifically demonstrate that his claims are true and will provide more information about his experience and qualifications, I'm going to side with QuackWatch on this clown.


Duane Browning

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Persistent Dr Williams

While no one has posted in my blog's comment sections on behalf of "Dr Okosun" in a long time, there have been numerous posts for "Dr Williams", all of which have been deleted and will continue to be deleted.

I have to say that I am stunned at the sheer number of posts for Dr Williams, not only on my blog, but on blogs and websites all over the Internet. No other scammer has posted so many times on my blog. Even after I delete posts that make it through my filters, a new post is often attempted within a day or two. I've already blocked several profiles from posting in my comments section, but it appears that this particular set of scammers has many hijacked Google+ profiles under their control. Even the profiles that have posted for other scammer "herbal doctors" are utilizing hijacked profiles whose only current function is attempting to swindle the gullible.

The following is typical of posts that I and others have received:
ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS WITH HIS HERB I WAS CURED FROM A TERRIBLE TINNITUS.
. Is my pleasure to comment on this site and i thank the admin of this site for his/her great work so far. I really don’t know how to thank DR WILLIAMS for helping me get cured for over 20 year of suffering from a terrible tinnitus, my tinnitus started when i turns 10 we all thought is going to end one day but even get worse as days went by,i have tried all western drugs prescribed by doctors but to no avail i lost total concentration, even at night i screams even more because the sounds become louder because everywhere is quiet. i came across DR WILLIAMS contact through a headline news on internet about how DR WILLIAMS have help so many people to get cured of tinnitus and so many other with similar body problem ,i contacted him and he told me how to get his herb,few day later he sent me the herbal portion which i take every morning for 21 days, and his medicine was able to restore me back to normal and now am very okay without any side effects whatsoever If you have Tinnitus, you can contact him on his email address drwilliams098765@gmail.com for help
Having my curiosity sufficiently aroused, I decided to contact Dr Williams to see what his gimmick might be, assuming that it would simply be more like Dr Okosun, but with a different name. Overall, he's similar, but there are some differences which I will share.

Using a spare email account under a pseudonym, I sent a short message to him and claimed that I suffered from diabetes. Within a day, he sent this reply:
Well thanks for the information you have provided me with, this will help me understand your condition better.I am an herbal doctor from Indian right now am in Singapore to sell my product, and i am provide a final and permanent cure to diabetes using herbal treatment methods. Where i employ herbal medicine is where Western medicine has failed and in this your case i would strongly recommend you use this herbal medicine and be free forever. I have been using this herbal medicine for over 3 decades now and its been from one success to the other, that is why you got to even know about me. I do not know if you believe in herbal medicine? But if you do that will be easier so you can be okay soon and be free from this bondage Which country are you from. how old are you
He writes under the name "Itua Williams". Now, "Itua" is an African name, not an Indian one and is often seen among Nigerians. Why he would use an obviously African name, while claiming to be an Indian living in Singapore seemed unlikely and I assumed he was lying about where he lives. I replied to this email that I live in the United States and I gave him a fictitious age. Shortly after I sent it, he replied:
like i said in my previous mail i have a medicine that can cure you permanently from diabetes whatsoever be the symptoms as far as it has to do with the body cells, this medicine is herbal and it is liquid in form, it has a natural taste (it is not bitter or slimy nor any offensive odor) the best part of it all is that it has no side effects whatsoever.
My herbal medicine is 100% effective in the treatment of diabetes like it treated the person who might have told you. My medicine works in a special way by reviving the damage made to the  cells in the pancreas and also works in the muscle tone too, by and in a special way which i call herbogenesis repair the damage made to the insulin.
You are expected to use the medicine for 21 days which is three weeks and within that three weeks you take the medicine once a day after eating in the morning. Before the end of the 21 days (3 weeks) you will already start seeing and experiencing results and to confirm it all you can see your doctor for final confirmation.

REGARDS
 I sent another reply, but didn't disclose any real information about myself. He soon sent this:
I trust my medicine and i give 100% money back guarantee and assurance that after using it you will be fine and perfectly okay without anything to worry about as regards your diabetes . This medicine is a one time medicine that needs no repetition over time because it gives a permanent cure to diabetes . Once you use it now that is final for life you are cured. What i do believe is in action and that is why i will say a trial will definitely convince and cure you. 

You can simply get the medicine delivered to you by placing and order through me by simply sending your full postal address where you want the medicine delivered to and you will get the medicine between 1-7 working days so you can start using it. 

The only problem i think you might be having is that the medicine is quite expensive and it costs $480 USD but if you can afford it and use it, you will be glad you did and might even be the one referring those with similar conditions to me for treatment. Health is wealth. If you wish to place an order for the herbal medicine let me know so i tell you on how to go about it.

Be rest assured that your cure awaits you. If you are confused about anything or you have any questions feel free to ask now we are friends and i will make out time out of my busy schedule to answer you.
 
I await your reply soonest and i look forward to helping you so this problem of yours can be a thing of the past.

Kind Regards
I sent a another reply, asking how the "medicine" would be delivered. As in the Okosun case, I wanted to see if he would list specific herbs. Any agricultural products (e.g. herbs, fruits, vegetables, etc) would likely be stopped by US Customs at the border. I was never under any illusion that he would ever send anything, but I was just curious. He sent this:
don't worry about the shipments it we be sent through dhl or USPS delivery service.

when you are ready to get it I we send you the account details that you are going to use for the transfer.
With most scammers, payments would be sent via Western Union, which has worked well for scammers in the past. In recent years, they have begun to abandon Western Union for other means of money transfers, such as iTunes gift cards. My curiosity about how he wanted the money sent was soon answered:
you make the transfer through this bank details
Name: Ng Poo Hong
Name of BANK: DBS SAVING PLUS
ACCOUNT NO: 0231037187
COUNTRY:singapore
address:    29 new upper changi road #04-772
SWIFT COD:  DBSSSGSG

when exactly are you making the deposit let me start making preparation of the delivering.
So, my assumption of him lying about being in Singapore was incorrect, unless he really is an African with a Singaporean co-conspirator who accepts the payments in exchange for a cut and then "Dr Williams" would receive his share later via a separate money transfer. It seems that the scammers are getting smarter about how they receive their ill-gotten gains, especially since Western Union has come under increasing pressure to prevent their service from being used by scammers. A simple bank transfer is relatively quick and the monies can swiftly be transferred to yet another account, never again to be seen by the victim. 

The given address of 29 New Upper Changi Road #04-772 is a real location in Singapore and a quick Google search reveals the name of a business that occupies it as Cyber Engineering (M&E) PTE. Ltd. and the address is current, as of January 2017. I have been unable to find any information regarding who owns this company, its telephone number or even what the company does.

I have no idea how common a name like "Ng Poo Hong" may be in Singapore, so attempting to locate this individual seems like a waste of time.

However, the bank mentioned, DBS Saving Plus, is a real financial institution. But, reporting these scammers to the bank may be fruitless, as I'd have to prove that they are violating Singaporean laws.

So, "Dr Williams" is a likely African scammer, posing as an Indian and using a Singaporean bank.

That's about it.


Duane Browning