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Don’t Fall for This Tricky Weight Loss Scam

Tim Boyer's picture
Garcinia cambogia scam alert

Here’s an all-too-common weight loss scam that dieters are still falling for, and what you can do if it happens to you.


You’ve seen the advertisements: “Free Weight Loss Trial―Pay Only for Shipping and Handling.” Sound too good to be true? Odds are it is. But that doesn’t stop many marketers of weight loss pills and other products from cashing in on consumers who are desperate to lose weight quick…and on the cheap.

According to a recent NBC News story, one woman who thought she was enrolling in a free weight loss product trial of a well-known weight loss pill—Garcinia cambogia—was actually scammed into an “auto-enroll” trick where the promoters of the weight loss trial could repeatedly charge her credit card without her immediate knowledge.

Tips from the FDA on How to Spot Fraudulent Advertisements

As a reminder on red flags to watch for when considering any weight loss or commercial healthcare product, here are some tips on what many fraudulent advertisements claim to lure consumers:

One product does it all― Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases.

Personal testimonials―Success stories such as “It cured my diabetes,” or “My tumors are gone,” are easy to make up and are not a substitution for scientific evidence.

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Quick fixes―Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products. Beware of language such as “lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” or “eliminates skin cancer in days.”

All natural―Some plants found in nature can kill if you eat them. Plus, FDA has found products promoted as “all natural” that contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients.

Miracle cure―Alarms should go off when you see this claim or others like it such as “new discovery” or “scientific breakthrough.” A real cure for a serious disease would be all over the media and prescribed by doctors—not buried in print ads, TV infomercials, or on Internet sites.

FDA-Approved―Domestic or imported dietary supplements are not approved by FDA

And one additional recommendation: If the supplement advertised does not provide a link to a scientific study or clinical trial report that supports what they are selling or the product's active ingredient, then avoid that product because in all likelihood they would list it if it existed.

For more about fraud in the weight loss industry, here is a link to a humorous video about diet pill fraud.

Reference: NBC News affiliate station KY3 “Woman signed up for free weight loss trial, was charged $400

Image courtesy of Pixabay