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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Synagen and Cogniq -- Scamming the Public with the Same Fake CNN Report

I apologize for any duplication in this post.  For some reason -- probably my own fault, although conspiracy theories will always be entertained -- the google hits pointing to this blog end up telling googlers that my page about the Synagen CNN scam no longer exists.

[update July 7, 2016 -- I'm still getting tons of hits for my posts on Geniux, Neurocell, Adderin, and Synagen, which suggests that they are still perpetrating this scam.  Today, I happened to run across a May 7, 2015 Forbes article by Matthew Herper addressing a similar scam involving a fake Forbes story with fake testimonials by Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and a guy from Shark Tank (Mark Cuban).  Forbes actually took the trouble to interview Buffet and the Shark Tank guy and confirmed that they had never taken the supplement at issue (something called BrainStorm Elite). And someone even reported the matter to the Federal Trade Commission:
“That’s something that we typically see,” says Richard Cleland, assistant director in the Division of Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission. “A lot of fingerpointing. ‘I’m not to blame, they’re to blame, I didn’t get the money, they got the money, I didn’t write the ad, they wrote the ad.’ I think from our point of view it’s not a legal defense. We can and have and will go after the manufacturer and the affiliates.”
By the same logic, the FTC should be going after the sellers of Geniux, Neurocell, Adderin, and Synagen, as well as all the other fake pills documented here.

Mr. Cleland's contact info is readily available on the internet here: For convenience here is his phone number and email address:

Richard Cleland
Assistant Director Division of Advertising Practices
Phone: 202-326-3088

If you're annoyed by this scam -- or have been victimized by it -- I suggest you call or email Mr. Cleland and point him to this site.  You can mention FTC Complaint Ref. No. 65703157, although that doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

---end of update--]

Anyway, if you clicked on a link that looked like this, on a sidebar on CNN or on (or anywhere else for that matter -- let me know if you saw it somewhere else):

and found a CNN report that touted the amazing benefits -- as shown by a Harvard(!) study -- of a pill called "Synagen IQ", or a pill called "Cogniq," you've come to the right place.  Both are clearly scams, because the reports use the same fake celebrity endorsements (Stephen Hawking, Anderson Cooper, Bill Gates, Ashton Kutcher, Denzel Washington, Tom Brady, and more), fake Harvard doctors, fake CNN doctors, and even the same pathetic typos in describing fake results of these fake and fraudulent products.

I hope somebody catches up to them soon and shuts them down.  Of course, they will keep changing their name, but if they don't change their methods drastically, hopefully people who google them under their new name will still end up here.

It's difficult to associate either product with a particular company name (if you're in the scam business, you'll change company and product names frequently).  Here are some names that Cogniq has been associated with:  Deepsea Nutrition, EyeFive, Urevive Inc, and CogniQ LLC, all of which have the same address:  7308 S. Alton Way, Centennial, Colorado.

Here's a working link to my original post, about the fake story that was being used to sell Synagen IQ:

and here's a link to the second post, about the identical fake story that was being used to sell Cogniq:

And for good measure, I'm just going to copy both posts right here, so you can see them all in one place, without fear of clicking on any links:

Original post, with many updates:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Synagen IQ Scam and Fake CNN Report

Short summary (since I wrote this in real time) -- I clicked on something that looked like a real CNN link, and got something that looked like a real CNN story, with the CNN logo etc etc., which included a report on a 14-day trial that Anderson Cooper himself had done of Synagen IQ.  But the article had a number of typos and just didn't seem like real reporting.  As you'll see below, it's pretty clear that it wasn't.  For me, this raises the question of how they could have gotten away with it -- putting a fake CNN news story touting their product on CNN's site, and giving it every appearance of a real CNN story.  It wasn't under "promoted stories" or anything like that.  I did not click on the link for ordering a bottle -- maybe the whole thing is just a virus, and they are taking advantage of Synagen as well.  But if Synagen was responsible for this fake ad, then that for me is conclusive proof that Synagen IQ is a scam. As noted below, the links I saw disappeared, and don't work anymore. When I hit "refresh" I ended up on

If you've bought Synagen IQ based on this ad -- or for any other reason -- and are disappointed with it, I strongly encourage you to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, citing this blog. Unless the makers/sellers of Synagen are somehow innocent victims here -- and I invite them to come forward and explain themselves -- this is straight-out fraud, and numerous other unsavory things.  And if it's not fraud by them, then it's fraud by someone else.  Here's where you would initiate an FTC complaint:

Update August 17, 2015:  Based on the number of hits this post is getting, it sounds like they are still running the fake CNN report.  If you got here because you saw it, please do us all a favor and leave a note with the date and time you saw it, and any other details that you think might help in an investigation against this scam.  You can leave the note anonymously -- that's better than nothing. Thanks!

If you scroll all the way down (past the fake CNN article itself), you'll see that I've listed a number of other questionable supplements with fishy advertising tactics: Alpha ZXT (formerly Neuro3x), Addium, Cogniq, Optimind, Brainfire, and Puricent - Centrophenoxine.  If you think any of these substances are somehow legitimate (whatever that means in this context), please let me know and I'll consider taking them off this list.

[Update 8/17 -- various sources have now reported an almost identical fake CNN news report that has shown up as a WashingtonPost sidebar, where the only difference is that the drug's name is Cogniq, not Synagen IQ.  Here's a link to a post by Toma that contains the "Cogniq" scam  I've also reproduced the "Cogniq" scam report in a separate post on this blog (without Toma's hilarious comments).]

Here's my original post, with occasional updates.  As I write this, it's less than three hours since I first saw the ad:

Was on this morning and clicked what looked like a CNN link:  [which I see now,  few hours later, lands me at -- -- don't ask me why]

And there I found what looked like a CNN article in which Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Anderson Cooper all talk about how taking Synagen IQ has made them smarter than ever -- boosts IQ, concentration, and allows them to access 100% of their brains.  All confirmed by a Harvard study.

But a lot of the stuff was in bold.  It started sounding too good to be true, almost like an advertisement.  And then, sure enough, at the end of it -- after making it abundantly clear that this thing was nearly impossible to get -- CNN offered me the opportunity to buy my own bottle. 

Very tempted to buy it; Anderson Cooper and Bill Gates had just told me that they were going to grab all they could get of it. 

Below I go through and analyze the article, which I guess I'm pretty sure now is a complete scam.  It is full of fake names, and also full of fake celebrity endorsements.  What's sad is that there is a link to this right on CNN's website -- do their computers not have any way of checking to see just how fake the ads they are linking to are?  I'll take all this back if Anderson Cooper tells me he really did the 14-day trial, and really had the results reported below.

But here's something strange (I'm writing this after having written the below).  I clicked on a link under "More from Politics" to the right of an article I was reading in which Donald Trump was bashing Bernie Sanders.  It looked like another "More from Politics" piece.  But just now, as I was trying to zoom in on it to get a good screen shot, it just disappeared, leaving blank space.  As best as I can remember, it had a picture of Steven Hawking, and a caption saying something like "Steven Hawking predicts turning point in technology."  Anyway, here's what it looked like post-disappearance:

The picture of Hawking was right under that of Obama, so it looked like another CNN story.  I.e. it wasn't under "Promoted Stories" or anything like that (which is a sure tipoff to an ad).  I wonder if CNN was somehow hacked.  Anyway, the below reproduces the whole article; I also have a pdf of it, but am too lazy to figure out how to upload it here.

Here's the opening screenshot:

It's written by "Richard Mason" but when I google Richard Mason cnn, I don't find any other articles by him (in fact, I don't even find this one -- am I in the twilight zone or what?).  The ticker at the bottom runs continuously, but only has three items -- CNN Reports: Donald Trump Has Done It Again, The State Of NFL Preseason Only Days Away, and Female Billionaire Reveals Secret Behind Fortune.  The ticker on the top (under BREAKING, which you can barely see in the screen shot) just has:   Kim K Said What Not Again?  Airlines Refund All Customers, and Wall Street Is Changing Into What?

Here's the opening of the article -- with typos etc noted:
Recently Hawking made some comments in an interview with Anderson Cooper about a brain booster that would become the biggest event in human history
Stephen Hawking credits his ability to function and maintained focused on such a high level to a certain set of “smart drugs” that enhance cognitive brain function and neural connectivity, while strengthening the prefrontal cortex and boosting memory and recall.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Stephen Hawking said that his brain is sharer [PF: you mean "sharper"?] than ever, more clear and focused and he credits a large part to using Synagen IQ Hawking went on to add “The brain is like a muscle, you got to work it out [PF:  Stephen Hawking said "you got to work it out"??] and use supplements just like body builders use, but for your brain, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing to enhance my mental capabilities”. 
Everyone that has taken this, from athletes like Tom Brady to musicians like kanye [PF:  why not capitalize this first name?  Kanye does] West have nothing but praise for the brain booster, which doubles IQ, skyrockets energy levels and connects areas of the brain not previously connected. Synagen IQ works so well for these guys, we had to ask... Is it safe? 
After 7 years Harvard Scientists Finally Break New Ground & Usher In The Future Of Brain Science With Invention Of New Smart Drug That Increases IQ, Memory And Focus Up To %100 [PF:  actually, in English we say "100%."  If I had to guess, I'd guess this was not written by a native speaker]
Over a decade ago ago Harvard assembled a team of neuroscientists to work on coming up with a natural brain supplement that could effortlessly boost IQ. 
Today, those scientists made the breakthrough they were seeking and made the discovery of a lifetime.They came up with a brain boosting smart drug that surpasses all limits of known science.
The Supplement they created is now THE [PF: really?  this is reporting?]best treatment available to improve memory, sharpen attention, increase focus and boost overall IQ.  
After numerous rounds of testing results were astonishing. One test subject was quoted as saying:
“As soon as I took it started working within minutes of taking it. All of a sudden, it felt like a dark cloud had been lifted up from in front of me. I was more alert, more focused, had long lasting energy, and experienced a mental clarity that I’d never felt before” – Ben Lishger Harvard Sophomore."
The Lead Researcher on the team Dr.Rosenhouse [PF: why no first name?  very unconventional.  Also, googling "harvard rosenhouse synagen" as of right now literally yields zero results -- not even this ad (which presumably hasn't been indexed by Google as of this writing.  Other attempts to associate Rosenhouse with Harvard also fail.] gave us an exclusive inside look at the ingredients that make up this revolutionary smart drug:
“It is engineered with all the ingredients containing vitamins and essentials that your brain needs to ensure improvement in all aspects of cognitive growth, while including short and long term memory, focus, energy, problem solving capabilities and total brain performance. 
We are all very grateful to have this now, as I believe it can help everyone on the planet and take us to the next stage of evolution. We’re very proud."
His associate Dr.cortigan [PF:  No first name either?  And doesn't capitalize his last name?] went on to say:
“This revolutionary brain booster enables your brain to be the most efficient it can. It energizes the tissue and functions deep at a cellular level. It makes your brain cells perform their task genuinely and keeps away all kinds of mental fatigue or weakness. Its [it's] truly a remarkable breakthrough.”
But what does this all mean for the rest of us? Could this pill help ordinary people like you and me? 
The only way to find out is to try it an [and?] luckily The [why cap?] Harvard team has patented and sold the rights to major manufacturers who currently have a limited 3 month supply. 
For me, my major concern is my work. I feel taking this brain supplement could help improve my work and increase my income. 
Sometimes, just one simple decision can drastically change the course of your life. Literally, one click could be the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and taking a bus to work to owning mansions, yachts, private jets and never ever having to worry about money ever again.  [PF:  a very strange paragraph for a CNN reporter to write]
As Warren Buffett famously says “the more you learn, the more you earn”. 
Are you ready to take the next step in improving your life, feeling sharper and smarter than ever before and making millions or billions in the process?
“I wouldn’t have developed my patent formula if not for this amazingly incredible brain supplement .” – says Dr. Rosenhouse.  [PF:  Wait, what?  The only reason you were smart enough to make these pills is because you made the pills, took them, and then made the pills?!]
Are you ready to find out if this can work for you? We already ordered ours and will be writing a follow up piece on the results, we encourage you to do the same. [PF:  Here, they are trying to make it look like the article was originally posted some time before August 12 (i.e. today's date).  But I really don't think it was.]
The only thing you have to do is try it and see for yourself. Who knows, maybe this could be the one little decision that changes your life. Write us and let us know. Best of luck!

And to the side, there's this:

et tu Ashton?

Here's what comes next:

So Denzel takes it too.  It goes on:
As we researched, we began to see that this supplement has been quickly gaining traction around the world. Celebrities and athletes alike are already rumored to be taking the pill with the full scale public release expected shortly. The company and product is called Synagen IQ. The site claimed that Synagen IQ contained a very unique formulation of natural vitamins and minerals which together unlock untapped parts of the human brain. Our resident brain scientist Dr Raqif conducted his own independent analysis of the supplement and his findings seemed to mirror Synagen IQ's claims. According to Dr Raqif, "he's never seen a food based supplement deliver such a profound upward lift in brain function before".
[PF:  CNN does not have a Dr. Raqif, who, like the other doctors in this piece, has no first name.  Interestingly, if you google that name, you find two different fake news ads for different brain supplements, including one called "brainfire".  The ads both contain the following text:  "Welcome To The Future’ – These were the opening words when Dr Raqif appeared on [7 News/Dr. Oz] about a highly advanced brain supplement that is sending shock-waves through the medical industry."]

And on:
We tested it ourselves - did it live up to the hype?
After our research led to such positive reviews, we simply had to try Synagen IQ ourselves to verify whether this was all hype. Almost every single man in the building volunteered to test it out but we chose our very own Anderson Cooper. Below is his account of using Synagen IQ over a 4 week period.
CNN's Anderson Cooper has admitted that taking Synagen IQ he memorizes lines better.
14 Day Summary - Anderson Cooper's Synagen IQ Results:
Anderson has been with CNN for years."The Synagen IQ pills were extremely hard to come by" says Cooper. He goes on to say, "If you can get your hands on these pills - get them right away." We had to wait 2 weeks before we got a bottle to test as it was sold out almost everywhere or over $300 a bottle from people trying to sell it for profit eBay People were paying top dollar for them on there. 
The free trial bottle of Synagen IQ was delivered in a few days from ordering and with surprisingly inexpensive shipping. Before putting Cooper on the test, our team ran a little bit of our own research before we put Cooper on the test and found:
Synagen IQ has been clinically proven to:
Sky-rocket Concentration by 32%
Improve Creative Thinking
Boost Energy
Enhance Memory Recall
Increase IQ Scores by 47%
Synagen IQ arrived within 4 days of having placed my order Online for the free trials and were inexpensive to ship. To test out the product, I took one Synagen IQ pill every morning for 4 weeks.
Anderson Cooper's 14 DAY Synagen IQ EXPERIENCE
Day 1 Brain
I took one and forgot all about it. Maybe 20-30 minutes later I felt odd. I can only describe it by saying my mind felt calm and still. I was playing a Men's mind game' and scored 100% on every answer. It was like that feeling you get when you have just woken up. Light headed so to speak but this was different. I was light headed and spaced out but in the zone at the same time. Can't explain it - but it was awesome.
Day 5 Brain
I was shocked at the drastic results. Over the course of the next 5 days I found myself bouncing out of bed and felt ready to take on the day - usually I need to snooze 3 times. I felt motivation to get stuff done and often power through.
Day 14 Brain
DAY 14
After 14 days, not only had all my doubts and skepticism absolutely vanished - Thing's that annoyed me were no longer an issue.  [like putting an apostrophe in the wrong place?]  I hardly got stressed and when I did, I was able to control my emotions and get back into peak performance and state.
My Thoughts On Synagen IQ
Synagen IQ is the real deal. The increase in focus, creativity and overall mental performance was a little bit scary to be honest - I felt like a different person. I didn't notice any side effects at all either. I need to order a box of these before they are released into stores. - Anderson Cooper
And alongside all of this was a picture of Anderson Cooper:

And what CNN article would be complete without a testimonial from Bill Gates?

And here's how it ends:

Update 081515:  Further internet research suggests that fake news articles (although perhaps not this elaborate) are a tactic of people trying to sell what they say are mind-enhancing drugs.  In fact, if I had to guess, I'd guess that many of the same people are all selling the same worthless drug, under different names, using illegal and fraudulent marketing techniques.  Another clear example -- possibly perpetrated by the same marketing crew -- is Alpha ZXT (formerly Neuro3x), which circulated fake news reports and celebrity endorsements from Tiger Woods, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Bradley Cooper, and others.  See  Note especially the doctored Time Magazine cover which makes it seem as though Tiger Woods attributed his success to a pill (I guess he must have stopped taking them!).  Update 081715:  Actually, it's pretty clear that Alpha ZXT comes from the same scammers as Cogniq and Synagen -- they've also run fake reports from Anderson Cooper and Stephen Hawking (
I'd probably add "addium," "cogniq," "optimind," and "brainfire" to the list.  Another candidate is Puricent - Centrophenoxine (which sounds like a regulated drug but isn't).
The word that loosely covers all of these substances is "Nootropic supplement."  Here's a site that reviews a lot of these drugs, and concludes that most of them are not useful.   But I'll caution that the reviewer likes "Optimind," which to me (based on their advertising) just looks like more of the same.  But don't let me stop you from buying these -- the placebo effect is very real, and if you truly believe, these pills may make you smarter.
Beyond the placebo effect, there's no question that there are drugs out there that will enhance your mental performance -- ADHD medications like Adderall have long been used (abused?) for that purpose.  But those are regulated drugs, and they don't rely on fake ads to suck in customers.

Oh, and of course, a bunch of reader comments, which, if I had to guess, are not going to change much over the next few hours:

 • a few seconds ago
After I started taking Synagen IQ I got a promotion at work after just 3 weeks. Three months later I'm CEO and have surpassed all my colleagues
 • a few minutes ago
After 2 weeks of taking Synagen IQ I was like a different person. It was actually bait unsettling as people began to behave very differently towards me! That said my work efficiency is up and I started learning a new language this week. Incredible stuff
 • a few minutes ago
I've been procrastinating for years about changing my job. 2 months ago I start a new Online business and began taking Synagen IQ. It's hard to believe I know, but I'm steadily generating $500 a day selling shoes. I sometimes go 8-10 hours in a row working at extreme levels. It's amazing.
 • a few minutes ago
This stuff is amazing! My best friend James took it too. A must try.
 • a few minutes ago
This sound pretty easy to do, I don't have my degree so i guess a little help won't hurt, this is a great opportunity to try it
 • a few minutes ago
Stoked! Finally a mind booster that I'm optimistic about. I ordered it and will report back!
 • a few minutes ago
I'm very glad you did research on the suppliers of these products because most of the products out there are shams & flops. I went ahead and ordered the exact brands you recommended on this article, and I can't wait to try it.
 • over an hour ago
I ordered the free trial a weeks ago and the customer service for these companies are excellent. Will continue to buy from them.. and yes the iq booster works like a miracle! :)
 • over an hour ago
I ordered it 5 days ago and it arrived in my mail today! I will keep you updated it on it.
 • over an hour ago
Already ordered it and my wife and I are both going to try this out, thanks. The Higgins family
 • over an hour ago
Thank you for doing a report on this. I've seen the advertisements everywhere and I didn't have the courage to try it until now. Thank you.
 • a few hours ago
I want to point out that there are brands of these products out there that doesn't contain the authentic components that have been researched and the ingredients are not high in quality. I think you should mention this in the article. But the good thing is that the brands you recommended are A+ companies with solid track history because I have been taking the expand brands you mentioned.
 • a few hours ago
It looks like the free shipping and discounts are still active for now! Get em while you can.
 • a few hours ago
This stuff is amazing! i couldn't believe it and had to do some research on my own which is how I found this news article. I can't believe they are offering free bottles! I know my friend tried this and was thrilled.. imagine how excited he would be if he found out he could get it at such a discount now. This is a godsend, thanks so much!!
 • a few hours ago
P.S. - for all male readers out there, I found out that this product does really work, my 22 year old brother has been using it for months.. so give it a try!
 • a few hours ago
I have been procrastinating for 2 months after reading this article and today is the day I am going to get my supply. I've gone ahead and ordered the 5 month supply. I will keep everyone posted on my results!
I saw this product on TV a few weeks ago however, i didn't know how to order it and came across your site and found this free bottles promotion. I'm currently on my 2nd month on this stuff and i have to say.. this stuff works and my results are unbelievable :) thank you so much for putting up this article and doing the test.
 • a few hours ago
My friends and I have all been waiting for this to hit the news. Good luck to everyone who takes advantage of this amazing discovery
 • a few hours ago
Can't wait to try!
Ok, that was the fake report about Synagen IQ, including fake comments and all.

And here is my blog post on the fake report about Cogniq:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cogniq Scam and Fake CNN Report

A couple of days ago, I blogged about the fake "CNN Report" that has been appearing for Synagen IQ.  Googling around a little bit, I found that an almost identical fake CNN report, including the same typos, has been circulating about Cogniq.  I actually predicted this in my original post -- that the names mean almost nothing; the game here is to get people to buy the stuff before they can figure out that it's all a big scam.  As long as they can stay one step ahead of bloggers like me (i.e. people who capture their fake reports and help expose the scam), they'll always be able to sell their snake oil under some other name.  If you google "Synagen IQ scam CNN," you might get my initial blog post, but if you google "Cogniq scam CNN", you might not.

For me (and some of the commenters on my original post), the fake report appeared on a real-seeming side bar on CNN.  The "Cogniq" report apparently would come up if you clicked on a Stephen Hawking link on a sidebar to the Washington Post at  Here's a reproduction of the Coqniq report, which I found over at here (I've eliminated Toma's hilarious comments; you can click on the link to see them):

Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher, and The Biggest Event In Human History

CogniQ great human event

CogniQ CNN page
In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Stephen Hawking said that his brain is sharer than ever, more clear and focused and he credits a large part to using Cogniq Hawking went on to add “The brain is like a muscle, you got to work it out and use supplements just like body builders use, but for your brain, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing to enhance my mental capabilities”.
Everyone that has taken this, from athletes like Tom Brady to musicians like kanye West have nothing but praise for the brain booster, which doubles IQ, skyrockets energy levels and connects areas of the brain not previously connected.

CogniQ bill gates
CogniQ anderson cooper
CogniQ ashton kutcher

CogniQ johnny depps favorite drug
The Lead Researcher on the team Dr.Rosenhouse gave us an exclusive inside look at the ingredients that make up this revolutionary smart drug…
“We are all very grateful to have this now, as I believe it can help everyone on the planet and take us to the next stage of evolution. We’re very proud.”
Are you ready to take the next step in improving your life, feeling sharper and smarter than ever before and making millions or billions in the process?
“I wouldn’t have developed my patent formula if not for this amazingly incredible brain supplement .” – says Dr. Rosenhouse
With the full market release of the supplement scheduled for later this year, Cogniq is bound to make a splash. Experts say government intervention is likely to limit the release of the supplement due to its potent effects…

In other words, it's essentially identical to the fake CNN report for Synagen IQ.  I sure hope that not too many people are sending money to these crooks.

If anyone reading this is aware of any other such fake, disappearing CNN reports like these -- on any topic whatsoever -- please send a comment.  This could be a whole new kind of fraud that could do a lot of harm to a lot of people.  
Side note -- I kept updating my original post so much that when it shows up on a google search, google now reports that it's unavailable.  You should be able to get to it by scrolling down from here, or failing that, from this link:

So those are my two posts.  If these people can be identified, this alone should be enough to shut them down.  Submit a complaint to the FTC!

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