The 15 Biggest Scam Products You've Thought About Buying

Biggest Scam Products You've Thought About Buying


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Biggest Scam Products You've Thought About Buying


Imagine curing a headache instantly by simply rubbing wax on your forehead or building sculpted muscles by holding – not lifting – a vibrating weight. The makers of these too-good-to-be-true products made those promises, but didn't deliver. Cheapism has compiled some of the biggest scam products most people have probably thought of buying.

Courtesy of


HeadOn, a topical product that claimed to relieve headaches, was essentially ChapStick meets Tylenol – except that one of the (heavily diluted) active ingredients, potassium dichromate, is used in developing photos and, in stronger doses, can cause symptoms ranging from dermatitis to cancer when used topically. Consumer Reports dismissed any possible positive results as a placebo effect. The product gained fame after being featured in a strange commercial that repeatedly stated "HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead."

Power Balance
Courtesy of


Power Balance bracelets were supposed to improve athletes' performance by "responding" to the "natural energy field of the body," but an investigation by the BBC Wales couldn't find evidence showing they were more powerful than good luck charms. Still, the company managed to get high-profile athletes like Shaquille O'Neal to endorse these supposedly magical bracelets.

Luxury Bottled Air
Courtesy of


Pollution might be a problem, but that doesn't mean $115 bottles of "premium" are a smart buy. Scientists have said there are absolutely no health benefits to bottled air, mainly because the bottles aren't pressurized and they contain a negligible amount of oxygen.

Bling H2O
Courtesy of


Bling H2O isn't so much as a scam as it is wildly overpriced. Created by a Hollywood writer and producer, the water undergoes a "nine-step purification process," and its bottles are covered in Swarovski crystals. The price? About $40 per 750ml bottle.

Bio Disc 2
Courtesy of


Bio Disc 2 promises to "increase your energy and harmony" and "decrease energy imbalances and redistribute pooled energy in your body." But it remains conspicuously unclear how the product achieves these supposed health benefits, given that Bio Disc 2 is simply a rubber-coated piece of glass. Visitors to the Amezcua website may want to read the No Warranty to Accuracy disclaimer.

Chi Pendant 2
Courtesy of


Feeling depleted? The makers of the similarly suspect Bio Disc 2 suggest wearing Chi Pendant 2, "an advanced, mineral-based pendant made from thermal-shock resistant glass that has a smooth positive energy field" (read: a necklace). Warning: Chi Pendant 2 is not intended to be worn by children, or pregnant or menstruating women.

Bio Light
Courtesy of


Can shining a flashlight on your dinner make it taste better? The company Amezuca claims its Bio Light can "generate the biophotons to enhance your energy levels and improve the taste of your foods and beverages." While the company website has some gobbledygook about photosynthesis (and even name drops Albert Einstein), there's no scientific proof to back up the Bio Light.

Shake Weight
Courtesy of


Imagine using a vibrating dumbbell to get a full upper-body workout in just six minutes. Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that while Shake Weight might help users tone their muscles a bit, they'll still work for more than six minutes to get results.

Slap Chop
Courtesy of


This as-seen-on-TV product is supposed to chop, dice, and mince food in seconds. But after Consumer Reports tried using Slap Chop to slice up a few vegetables, they had a simple (and cheaper) recommendation for chopping and dicing -- use a knife.

Courtesy of


Stirring might be the easiest task in the cooking world, but the folks behind RoboStir apparently thought the job should be given to a robot. A very ineffective robot. Consumer Reports found that RoboStir didn't reliably stir food products evenly, and sometimes splattered oil around the kitchen.

Magnescribe Pen
Courtesy of


Magnescribe Pen is where office chic meets practicality... sort of. It's a pen that attaches to a pendant that is also a clock. It's not really a scam, but for the $30 price tag it's possible to buy a bunch of pens, a clock, and a piece of jewelry that may be more to a consumer's liking.

Sketchers Shape-Ups
Courtesy of


Sketchers claimed that its Shape-Ups shoes helped people lose weight and tone muscle just by walking in them. But after it was revealed that these claims were unfounded, despite celebrity sponsorships by Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke, the shoemaker had to pay out $40 million to the Federal Trade Commission.

Airborne Herbal Supplement
Courtesy of


Airborne is a drinkable multivitamin, but the company advertised the product as much more, claiming that it could help fight off colds and protect its users from germ-ridden environments. A class action lawsuit resulted in Airborne paying out more than $23 million for false advertising.

Cocoa Butter
Svetlana Lukienko/shutterstock


Cocoa butter lotion products are often advertised as having the ability to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. But a 2008 study showed no difference between the visibility of stretch marks in pregnant women who used the lotion and those who didn't. Vitamin E creams, however, have been shown to be more effective.

Barefoot Running Shoes
Courtesy of


The advent of barefoot running shoes made devoted runners wonder if shoemakers been getting it wrong for centuries, providing support for feet where none was needed. There's no evidence that these shoes provide any health benefits, and at least one study showed they can cause foot injuries such as bone marrow edema.