CelebCore Follies: Inventor Sisters Are Literally Unreal

CelebCore Follies: Inventor Sisters Are Literally Unreal
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Celebrities endorse the darnedest things… Except when they don’t—their likenesses are hijacked by scammers looking to peddle questionable (at best!) products. This series explores some of the odder CelebCore scams to better inform the public and adtech community… And also just ask “Why?!?”


Unfortunately, we didn’t capture the enlightening text from the content recommendation box that convinces a consumer to click on… Somebody using dental floss to strangle a tiny flesh plateau? Wrangling a worm loose at the skin rodeo? From the landing page, though, we’re going to guess this is an “artistic rendering” of an old-school skin tag removal technique. We’re sorry we’re not cultured enough to appreciate such glorious illustration.


Wow, did the investor panel on Shark Tank really dump $1 million dollars into this miraculous… uh, skin tag remover?

No—that would be a weird investment!

Lo and behold, the text on the landing page above is almost a word-for-word copy of a widely reported 2018 diet pill scam that also leveraged a fake recommendation from Sandra Bullock. “Anna and Samantha Martin” at that time were portrayed by actual Shark Tank contestants Shelly Hyde and Kara Haught of Raising Wild Swimwear (unbeknownst to them, of course).

Reverse Google image searches fail to identify who is currently playing Ann and Samantha Martin in these scams, but it’s pretty clear that the miracle worker sisters don’t exist. It’s a shame—the inventors have been invented.

In addition, “Tag Away Pro” attempts to co-opt the legitimate “Tag Away” brand of skin tag removal tools. But something strange happens when clicking through to “Check availability.”  The brand changes to “LuxeSerena.” You can find “Tag Away Pro” with some Google searches, and its pages use the same stock imagery as LuxeSerena. Obviously there’s some weirdness going on.

Tagged as Malware

You may be thinking, “Well, it seems like some harmless clickbait for people that like clicking on weird stuff!” Except that’s not the creative that passed the buy-side platform audit or what the publisher was expecting—this is a piece of CelebCore malware that uses cloaking technology to hide its malicious intent. This ad tag contained an innocuous creative and landing page, but through a series of redirects brings consumers to this very misleading offer.

CelebCore has grown out of FizzCore, which has bombarded publishers and social media networks for years with bogus crypto schemes containing false celebrity endorsements. As crypto’s scamming value has waned, bad actors have diversified into other financial schemes, diet supplements, and beauty and skincare tools like skin tag removers. But they’re still using the same cloaking techniques to hide creatives and landing pages rife with falsehoods that aim to lure unsuspecting consumers into buying faulty products at best… At worst, these scammers steal personal data to commit further crimes.

People around the globe have issues with skin tags, and removing them can be difficult (and lead to high dermatology bills). These are vulnerable people being targeted—don’t help the scammers reach their marks.