Singapore Top Travel, Beauty, Food, Lifestyle Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Primo Garcinia Diet Pills - Scam Alert!

"Grad Student Reveals How She Lost 16 KG In Just 6 Weeks With These 2 Simple Tricks!"

Primo Garcinia Review Scam
Recognise these images? You might have seen them on Facebook or Instagram recently, on a weight loss ad claiming: "Grad Student Reveals How She Lost 16 KG In Just 6 Weeks With These 2 Simple Tricks!"

Primo Garcinia Review Scam

http://lifestyleasia.com-article.co/student-from-national-university-of-singapore-cuts-16kg-on-university-budget/

The compelling before-&-after pictures and catchy title might have piqued your interest, because all of us want to lose those holiday pounds we piled on, right? So you click on this ad, which brings you to an online magazine article on Lifestyleasia, where Cathy Lim tells you about how Primo Garcinia helped her lose 16kg in six weeks.

Sounds amazing and convincing really, except that: 

1. The pictures are of me and I am definitely not Cathy Lim nor am I a grad student nor did I lose 16kg in 6 weeks

2. Those pictures are originally from my 2015 blog post - My Weight Loss Story: How I Lost 8kg In 2 Months talking about my weight loss achieved with TCM Slimming Treatments at Slim Couture

3. I have never heard of Primo Garcinia let alone tried this miracle weight-loss product, ever

These ads have been circulating in various forms with different subjects on both Facebook and Instagram, under strange account names like "Beatles Parodies" and "Silly Surprises" and "Cover It All Blog".

I've been receiving so many emails, messages and comments (thank you so much to all my friends, readers and followers who were concerned and contacted me!) regarding my photos being misused for false advertising online that I feel that I need to set the record straight and put something online publicly to warn consumers not to fall for Primo Garcinia's false selling and advertising - It's a scam!

Fake Mirror Website Used

I was first alerted to the weight-loss images of myself and my husband being mis-used on a fake mirror website of Lifestyleasia.com (an online lifestyle portal in Singapore, sounds legit) - If you look carefully at the URL though, it is actually Lifestyleasia.com-article.co instead of Lifestyleasia.com, VERY misleading indeed.


Primo Garcinia Review Scam

Fake Identities & Stolen Pictures

In the first version of this fake ad by Primo Garcinia, I was named Mira. Nice, very very indie name.

Primo Garcinia Review Scam
In the second version of this fake article on Lifestyleasia-article.co, I have been renamed to Cathy Lim  - I guess they did a little more research before they did up this second article.

There's even a realistic interview about how Fann Wong was "my" inspiration to try Primo Garcinia, and the article ends with Cathy/myself "working with the official suppliers of Primo Garcinia to provide free 1 month supplies for readers".

Primo Garcinia Review Scam

Once again, I repeat, the Primo Garcinia website is a scam!

Primo Garcinia Review Scam

Clicking on one of the links from the article then brings you through a series of redirects before you end up on a convincing-looking website selling Primo Garcinia, a miracle weight-loss product claiming to be voted #1 Fat Burning Product In Singapore.

Except that it isn't quite as legit as it looks.

Primo Garcinia Review Scam
There are even testimonials with weight-loss pictures of Caucasian women, who stay in Tampines and Bukit Batok. LOL like seriously?

Beware The Free Trial!


Primo Garcinia Review Scam
Entering your details brings you to this page where you get "1 Free Bottle Confirmed", and you're then asked to fill in your credit card details.


A quick Google search turned up multiple names for "Primo Garcinia" and multiple websites that all looked very very similar and dubious, as well as websites calling out these "free" trials for what they are - scams

Once you provide your credit card details, you will be sent one month's supply for free, but if you do not cancel within 14 days of your order, you will be enrolled in an "auto-shipment program" which sends you a 1 month supply every 30 days for $133.76 + $8.04 every month, unless cancelled!



They are SO good at this. Freaking fine print on the website tells you all these, but would a consumer who's been beguiled by those persuasive weight-loss pictures and promises of a free trial even read the tiny text or think twice before providing their credit card details?

I Tried To Contact Primo Garcinia

Primo Garcinia's level of dodginess is just incredible.

Firstly, my Facebook friend Dexter tried doing a domain name look up for me.
This is what we got from the search:

Domain Name: COM-ARTICLE.CO
Domain ID: D172444262-CO
Sponsoring Registrar: NAMECHEAP, INC.
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 1068
Registrar URL (registration services):  http://www.namecheap.com
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registrant ID: F4CI334RTITIYTEP
Registrant Name: WhoisGuard Protected
Registrant Organization: WhoisGuard, Inc.
Registrant Address1: P.O. Box 0823-03411
Registrant City: Panama
Registrant State/Province: Panama
Registrant Postal Code: 0
Registrant Country: Panama
Registrant Country Code: PA
Registrant Phone Number: +507.8365503
Registrant Facsimile Number: +51.17057182
Registrant Email: email@whoisguard.com

A Google on WhoisGuard brought up that WhoisGuard is a privacy protection service that prevents people from seeing your name, address, phone number and email when they do a Whois search on your domain. It puts its address information to the public instead of yours to protect you from potential spam and even identity theft.

WTF, apparently WhoisGuard also protects spammers and identity thieves also lah! The company behind Primo Garcinia got their domain name protected with WhoisGuard, very clever of them.

I called the hotline listed on the website next.
Primo Garcinia Review Scam
Phone support for Singapore was listed on the website, so I called the number provided: 800-852-3931 and I got put through to a "customer service officer".

I told her that my photos had been misused on an advertisement for Primo Garcinia, and she told me that "we do not sell any products in our company" and that I might have gotten the number wrong (which wasn't the case because I tapped directly on the number from my mobile Safari). She then said that her company sold "Home Care Packages" (?????) wtf?

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I then asked for an email in which I could contact her company as this particular number was wrongly listed on a website selling weight-loss products, and I would like to alert her company to it, right? She told me that "she was unable to assist me as I was not a customer". I hung up shortly after because this phone call was obviously going nowhere.

WTF?

There is just some high-level dodgy shit going on there seriously.

So one last point to note on Primo Garcinia and its high-level dodginess is another tiny fine print on its website:
Primo Garcinia Review Scam
The last paragraph is just full of win. 

"We are not responsible for any reviews, reports, emails, advertisements or blogs that may have led you to this page. If you feel any of these 3rd party reviews, advertisements, blogs or reports may be inaccurate, please contact us immediately. We do not condone or endorse any inaccurate information, statistics and/or claims made by 3rd parties in regards to our product."

Win liao lor so my photos anyhow use on your fake advertisement is none of your business or responsibility right.  I have emailed Primo Garcinia's email address but I doubt I will get a response.

I have also contacted Lifestyleasia.com (the real website) and their response is below:

Primo Garcinia Review Scam


Do Not Fall For This Scam!

I am sincerely worried about unsuspecting consumers believing these ads on Primo Garcinia and then getting scammed into providing their credit card details because many friends have sent me screenshots of their Facebook friends / Instagram friends sharing this link and discussing about it.

Read these articles as well if you're not convinced.
An article on Stuff.co.nz: Warning of diet pill scam as a review of Garcinia Lean XTreme on Highya.com which I assume is another name for the same product/scam.


??? Confused ???


Q: Are those real weight-loss images, then?

Yes, they are my real weight-loss images, but put in false context! The only slimming treatment that I've endorsed is Slim Couture's TCM Treatments and those images are from my blog post sharing my experience at Slim Couture. They are not photoshopped images lol but NO THE WEIGHT LOSS IS NOT FROM PRIMO GARCINIA!!!


Q: But I see Primo Garcinia in supplement stores?!

Well, I did some research on Primo Garcinia and it seems to be a (somewhat) legit supplement that is available in local supplement stores, but you SHOULD NOT purchase it from dodgy websites that use stolen images and con you into providing your credit card details for an "auto-shipment" program!!!


***

The bottomline is, do not believe anything on the internet that seems too good to be true, and always be savvy when providing your credit card details online! There are other similar websites/scams online and many of them cleverly use consumer psychology to tap into your psyche and coerce you into these scams and gimmicks.

If you can, please share this article on your Facebook page or WhatsApp groups to warn your friends not to fall for it as well - I have no idea how I can get my images removed from the fake ad so the only way I can promote awareness of this scam is through my blog post. It would be great if you could also report these ads as spam whenever they show up on your Facebook or Instagram feed! If any one knows how I can report the false advertising or get anything done about it at all, please contact me via email

THANK YOU!


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Seoul Jan'17: 5 Cafes To Visit At Garosu-Gil!


One of my favourite places to roam in Seoul is Garosu-gil at Sinsa-Dong. The name Garosu-gil comes from the Korean word meaning "tree-lined streets", as the area is adorned with ginkgo trees, making it one of the most picturesque and Instagram-worthy parts of town in Seoul!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Garosu-gil is also famous for the many stylish cafes, boutiques and restaurants it is home to. Armed with our cameras and empty stomachs, my girlfriend Tammi and I set out for a day of cafe-hopping down the streets of Garosu-gil!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
My camera of choice is the Olympus E-PL8 - The perfect travel companion with its lightweight and compact build as well as features like Built-In Wifi, Art Filters and an 180 degree-flip down LCD screen optimised for selfies!

5 Cafes To Visit At Garosu-Gil

As I've mentioned, Garosu-gil is practically the cafe capital of Seoul - There are so many cafes along Garosu-Gil that it's impossible to visit them all in one day! We spent an entire day at Garosu-gil and here are the five cafes that we visited and loved - With gorgeous interiors and delicious food, these cafes will be a treat for both your Instagram and your tummy! Hehe.

Directions to Garosu-Gil

Take the Seoul subway to Sinsa Station (Line 3).
From exit 8, walk straight for about 5 minutes - The second intersecting street is Garosugil.


1. Line Friends Store & Cafe

535-15 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-Gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Line Friends Store & Cafe is without a doubt one of the most charming cafes you'll step foot in on the street of Garosu-gil - Even for a non-Line fan like me, I found the Line-themed merchandise and food irresistibly cute! Just look at this huuuuuge Brown bear that everyone was queuing up to take a photo with!

Browse the merchandise if you will, but be warned that everything is ridiculously priced and costs a pretty penny - I really liked some of the merchandise but couldn't bear to spend my precious Korean won on them.

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pinhole Mode
Head downstairs to the basement, and you'll find the endearing Line Friends Cafe!

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Where you can dine with a life-sized "Brown" next to you, or choose from lots of cutesy Line-themed desserts, cakes, and food!

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
I bought myself a "Coney"-themed soft serve that was surprisingly delicious and waaaayyyy tooooo cute! Gotta say I wasn't expecting much, but this was goooood. (And it garnered me 1500 likes on Instagram too, what is this obsession with cute food?!)


2. The Hwawon @ Eight Seconds

535-12 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
For those of you who love eclectic decor and botanicals, pop by The Hwawon @ Eight Seconds!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Vintage Mode
With its dimly-lit and cozy interior that's been spiced up with little potted plants, colourful Middle-Eastern tapestry and an entire ceiling-full of dried flower bouquets, The Hwawon makes you feel like you've stepped into another universe altogether.

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Vintage Mode
It was the perfect hide-out from the freezing temperatures outdoors as we indulged in hot tea and honey bread!


Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Here's the perfect shot of our Honey Toast - Served toasty warm, drizzled with honey and then topped with whipped cream and cacao nibs!

Confession: Despite struggling with our frozen fingers, we brought this outdoors to the very pretty coffee table right outside the entrance for its own editorial shoot just because outdoor lighting is full of win. Don't judge us.


3. Deux Crèmes

45, Dosan-Daero 15-Gil,
Gangnam-Gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pop Art Mode
Deux Crèmes might not look like much from the outside, but I highly highly recommend this cafe if you love tarts and pastries - They do an incredible selection of fresh fruit pies that taste as good as they look!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode

Oh, and they also have gorgeous full-length windows with a great view for people-watching as well as perfect lighting for portrait and food shots! Definitely a win!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Here's a tip for your table flat-lay photos: It always looks better with a bit of human action, so get a hand (or two) into the frame for a more enticing shot!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
We had the strawberry pistachio tart, and it was delicious! The crust was light and flaky, and the fresh strawberries complemented the light cream and nutty pistachio filling so well. It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, crisp and creamy.

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode
See what I mean about the full-length windows for beautiful portrait lighting conditions? ;) The use of the Partial Color Art Filter really brought out the feels for this photo too!

4. Skin Food Store & Cafe

12-37 Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, 
Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Walking further down Garosu-gil, we stumbled upon Skinfood Cafe right above its concept store on Level 1 - Both Tammi and I are Skinfood fans, and we had to head upstairs to check out the cafe!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
I LOVED the cheerful and happy atmosphere with sunny yellow and white accents all over! There's a little section where you get to play with Skinfood's skincare products and another where different makeup products are all laid out too. Really fun and chirpy vibes going on that's totally in line with Skinfood's branding.

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Cross Process Mode
They sure know how to make a place photogenic. Definitely my kind of #interiorgoals!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Food-wise, the menu is refreshing and reflects Skinfood's healthy brand philosophy - Great for health-conscious eaters. It's not mind-blowing by any means, but the cafe is a lovely and cheery place to rest the feet after an intense Skinfood marathon shopping downstairs on Level 1!

PS. I bought the Skin Food Avocado & Honey Lip Serum SPF8 and really, really like it. Moisturises well and gives my lips a natural reddish tint!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
A quick selfie made easy with the 180 deg flip down screen on my Olympus E-PL8 - We all deserve to be a little narcissistic sometimes, yes? (Note: There's actually an E-Portrait mode on the Olympus E-PL8 for flawless skin too!)

5. O'Sulloc Tea House

580-5 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Osulloc Tea House is one of those cafes that I've heard a lot of raves about, so naturally, we made it our last stop for the day. They actually do have a few different outlets - One in Myeongdong and another one at Insadong if I'm not mistaken.

Green tea and matcha fanatics should give Osulloc Tea House a visit because just about every single thing on its menu is green tea flavoured! The green tea used in their products is organically grown and comes from Jeju Island.

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Light Tone Mode
All kinds of green tea goodness on our tray. Yay!

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Light Tone Mode
We both loved the Green Tea Latte - It was creamy and frothy with exactly the right taste of matcha that was neither too bitter nor too artificial. Good stuff!! 

Tammi preferred the Green Tea Roll Cake while I liked the Green Tea Torte. The roll cake was sort of bland and didn't have a strong enough matcha kick to me, while the Green Tea Torte was sweeter and richer.

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Pretty much done with the sweet stuff by the time we finished up at Osulloc Tea House, but it was a super fun day together with Tammi!

Five cafes in one day - Sounds hectic, but we really had a very relaxed time, and I would have loved to visit even more cafes, had we the stomach space to try more food!

Even if you don't follow my cafe recommendations above, do set aside a day in your itinerary to head over to Garosu-gil to explore the area. It's a treasure trove of hidden gem cafes, cool boutiques and interesting shops to uncover!

Garosugil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pop Art Mode
It was evening time when we left Garosu-Gil to the sight of a cloudless canvas of brilliant hues as the sun set. Dazzling, ain't it?

Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode
Pictures used for illustrations in this entry were taken with my Olympus E-PL8.

Hope you enjoyed the read, and let me know if you've got any cool cafes to recommend around Garosu-Gil! Psst. More Seoul travel posts are coming this way, so keep a look out! ;)


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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seoul Jan'17: Shake Shack at Gangnam Avenue - Totally worth the calories

Shake Shack Gangnam
Seoul's Shake Shack - How does it compare?
Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I remember my first taste of heaven - Shake Shack in Washington, December 2015! 

Imagine sinking your teeth into a fat crispy battered mushroom that's filled with exploding cheese, layered atop more cheese and a juicy, meaty beef patty, then encased within two fluffy soft pillows of buns.. There's nothing like a Shake Shack burger!

But the USA is a good twenty hours away from Singapore, and it's been more than a year since I last tasted this sinful decadence.. Until our visit to Shake Shack in Gangnam Avenue, Seoul! 

I've been around Gangnam previously (had really good fried chicken at this place called The Fry Pan) but that was before Shake Shack was even available in Seoul, hence my anticipation!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Back alleys of Gangnam Avenue; There's a lot of good food around here!
The only places Shake Shack can be found in Asia is Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, Japan - When are they opening an outlet in Singapore?

Shake Shack - Gangnam Avenue, Seoul

Address:
452 Gangnam-aero,
Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Open Daily: 11AM–11PM

Subway Directions:
Take the train to Sinnonhyeon (Line 9) Exit 5, walk straight down and you'll spot Shack Shack on your left.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I couldn't pass up on the chance to reminisce that amazing burger since I was already in Seoul, so we planned a visit to Shake Shack into our itinerary, and I was really, really excited about it!

We got there in the afternoon, around 3PM and thankfully, the queue wasn't too bad! A lot of people arrived after we did and the snaking line of customers extended all the way to the queuing area outdoors.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Decor and concept-wise, it looked exactly like Shake Shack in the USA, with the same ordering system - You queue up to order then get your own table and wait to collect your food once it's ready!

From arriving to getting our food on the table, it took roughly 30-40 minutes on a weekday, which wasn't too bad already, I suppose.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Here's the menu that's almost identical to the original Shake Shack, save for unique Seoul-exclusive items like the Red Bean Shake and Honey Butter Crunch Concrete! Pretty interesting, huh?

Price-wise, it's affordable though on the pricier end for fast food - My Shake Stack cost 12,400 won or around 15 SGD.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
So excited to dig in, but of course the camera gets to eat first!

Verdict? Making the trip down to Shake Shack for lunch was absolutely worth the effort!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
The only disappointment I had: Shake Shack's famous Crinkle Cut Cheese Fries (4,900 won) that definitely weren't as good as USA's - It was soggy and unappetising, I felt.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Sam ordered a Double Cheeseburger with additional bacon!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
As for me, I stuck to my Shake Stack - Cheeseburger and a 'Shroom Burger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce!

THAT OOZING CHEESE. And I'm not even a big fan of cheese!! This combination is the best. I love the juicy portobello mushroom, molten cheese, and juicy beef patty all held together with yummy ShackSauce (a barbecue sauce). So sinful and sooooo good!

While I personally felt that my Shake Stack wasn't QUITE exactly the same as its US counterpart, it was close enough to satisfy that Shake Shack burger craving I was having. Score!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I also recommend trying the Seoul-exclusive Honey Butter Crunch Concrete, which I found very unique!

If you like the famous Honey Butter potato chips that have been all the rage in Seoul, this has a similar taste with a mild buttery taste and crunchy waffle cone pieces. It is very rich and sweet though like all of Shake Shack's milkshakes and concretes, so I would suggest sharing this.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Overall, though, we were very satisfied with our greasy, delicious, fast food lunch and I'll still be waiting for the day Shake Shack comes to Singapore! But until then, you know where's the nearest place to get your Shake Shack burger fix - In Seoul!

Accomodation - Airbnb

 Airbnb Seoul
We opted to stay in an Airbnb apartment as I've been doing frequently for my travels. Here's the view from our Airbnb apartment located near Seoul Station - Get $40 credit for your Airbnb accommodation if you sign up for AirBnB via my referral link here!


Wifi - Happi.Fi

I stayed connected in Seoul with Happi.Fi - Quote "PMYINA" for 20% off your wifi rental!

They've got super good prices for wifi rental to lots of countries, and I love that the device is so sleek and small! Fits in even my smallest bag. (There are different devices for different countries - Do take note.) Each device can connect up to five users with no problem. They also thoughtfully provide a travel adaptor that charges USB ports as well as a mobile power bank - Super convenient!

Rent your pocket WiFi from Happi.Fi's website here.

Seoul Travelogues:

Seoul Jan'17: Best Value-For-Money Korean BBQ at Hongdae - Dally So
Seoul Jan'17: 5 Cafes To Visit At Garosu-Gil!
Seoul Jan'17: Shake Shack at Gangnam Avenue - Totally worth the calories
Seoul Jan'17: Gwangjang Market - Eating Raw Beef & Live Octopus
Seoul Mar'14: Juno Hair at Gangnam/Exploring Cheongdam



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© Yina Goes

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