Tuesday, January 13, 2015

AARP Fraud Watch - Weight Loss Scams in 2015

Beware of Weight-Loss Scams in the New Year!
     According to the New York Times, about 45 percent of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution this year. Topping the list? Losing weight.
     When it comes to dieting, there are no easy answers – and plenty of scams. If a product promises weight loss without effort and sacrifice, it’s bogus and could harm your health.
Look for potential warning signs, such as:
  • quick-fix promises or testimonials, like: “Just take a pill.” “Never diet again!” or “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”;
  • products sold online only, by unqualified individuals or via email advertisements;
  • claims to treat a wide range of ailments and nutritional deficiencies;
  • promotes a particular ingredient, compound or food as the key factor of success;
  • requires large advance payments or long-term contracts.
If you choose to try out the product:
  • read all the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully; claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs;
  • research the scientific claims the manufacturers are making;
  • look up the company or product names on the Food and Drug Administration's website;
  • check in with a health care professional first to get advice;
  • pay with a credit card, so you have an extra level of protection if you choose to contest the charge.
...and watch out for free trials!
  • Often weight loss and other so-called medical products and devices are offered on a “free trial basis.” But what starts off as “free” might end up costing you lots of money.
  • Some companies use this approach to sign you up for more products which can cost you lots of money as they bill you every month until you cancel.
  • And some dishonest businesses make it tough to cancel, hiding the terms and conditions of their offers in very small type, and putting conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it could be next to impossible to stop the deliveries and the billing.
  • Or, the "trial" might come with a small shipping and handling fee. Pay attention to the offer and cancellation policies. Research the company making the offer before moving ahead. 
Go here to see AARP video on how to protect yourself from weight-loss scams like these!  If you are the victim of a weight-loss scam, report it to the:
Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network

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