Weight loss is also big business for con-artists. Americans are bombarded with advertisements for bogus weight –loss supplements, patches, creams, herbal teas or other products, making it one of the Better Business Bureau’s top rated scams. Earlier this week, a federal district court ordered the marketers of an herbal tea and a diet patch to pay nearly $2 million to the FTC for making deceptive claims that users would lose weight quickly without diet and/or exercise.
“There is no shortage of those who prey on people’s desperation to lose weight, especially this time of year,” said Mechele Agbayani, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas. “While a sensible nutrition program and exercise are the safest ways to lose weight in most cases, it’s important for consumers to look for red flags and use caution before choosing to use another method for weight loss.”
The old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” holds true when it comes to sketchy weight loss products as well.
BBB reminds consumers to beware of products which claim they will help you to lose weight and provides the following advice:
* Be wary of pills and powders which promise to "burn," "block," "flush," or otherwise eliminate fat from your system. Remember that even the best diet pill or weight loss product is, at best, only a temporary or partial measure.
* Be cautious if company makes claims that promise immediate, effortless and/or "guaranteed" weight loss. Also watch for buzzwords like "breakthrough,"”revolutionary”, "secret," "exclusive", “free trial”, “guaranteed” or "miraculous" in advertisements. These are not scientific words and often appear in misleading promotions for fraudulent products.
* If the product is not sold via regular commercial distribution channels and is instead only sold via internet, mail order, or multi level marketing, do some research. Go to www.bbb.org to look at the company’s Reliability Report and complaint history.
* Use caution if the company uses vaguely worded testimonials that cannot be verified. Testimonials should not serve as a substitute for scientific proof of a product's effectiveness.
* Be on your guard if claims are made which promise fast, permanent or easy weight loss or claims you can lose weight without exercising or making dietary modifications.
BBB Also reminds consumers to check with your physician before committing to any weight loss product or program.
For more information about how to spot a weight loss scam, go to www.bbb.org