Ellen DeGeneres and Sandra Bullock have sued 100 anonymous individuals over “online scams” that include fake endorsements for beauty products from the two celebrities.
In a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Bullock and DeGeneres say that they have been “targeted because of their age, their unimpeachable reputation for honesty and having worked hard at maintaining a healthy and youthful look, which con artists believe will attract and dupe unwitting customers into getting bilked by giving up their credit card information.”
The scams, based on the suit, involve fake celebrity endorsements that are used to help trap unsuspecting buyers into programs with recurring charges.
“Customers are deceptively induced to buy products like Defendants’ ‘anti-aging serums’ and other Beauty Products, typically tempting them with a ‘trial offer’ which promises a free or risk-free trial at a nominal cost or for only a shipping and handling fee,” the suit states. “In practice, however, customers who purchase the trial offer are charged full price for the product or service unless they cancel the order within a very short time, a tactic that commits customers to receiving multiple deliveries and charges for products they did not want or expect.”
Included in the suit are also examples of the false endorsements, such as fictitious praise for a product called the “Alessa Serum” from Bullock and DeGeneres.
Other products listed in the suit with the false endorsements include BioDerm Rx, Derma Bright, Instant Youth Recapture 360, and Skinception Instant Wrinkle Reducer.
Bullock and DeGeneres are seeking damages and a preliminary and permanent injunction against the defendants from using their publicity rights (including their name, “photograph, likeness, image, identity, persona, voice, sound-alike voice and/or signature”) again.
“People are being defrauded in this massive scam using Sandra’s and Ellen’s names and images,” Michael Kump and Michael Weinstein, Bullock and DeGeneres’s attorneys, said in a statement. “Like Whack-A-Mole, for each fake site exposed, another one pops up. The complaint exposes the scam and how it works so people can avoid getting trapped in it, and provides a way to identify those responsible and profiting from it so they can be stopped and held to account.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.