New Year, New Weight Loss Scams
By Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Scammers follow the headlines — and the seasons. As the new year rolls around, we’re sure to hear lots of “new year, new you” advertising around health and fitness products. But some of those promotions are just scams out to get your money. Here’s how to spot them.
Scammers often post ads online for things like weight loss pills, patches, or creams. The ads sometimes look like news reports about a “miraculous” new product to help you lose weight without dieting or exercising. (Except it won’t.) Scammers might even steal logos from real news organizations to make their posts seem more real.
If you take the next step and check out the reviews, you might find positively glowing ones. Which scammers often write themselves or pay others to do it. Same with those dramatic “before” and “after” pictures: Scammers often use stock or altered photographs, not photos of people who used what they’re trying to sell you.
Scammers will say just about anything to get you to buy their weight loss or fitness products. To spot the scams, keep an eye out for these common false promises:
- If someone says you don’t have to watch what you eat to lose weight, that’s a scam.
- If someone says using their product helps you lose weight permanently, that’s a scam.
- If someone tells you that, to lose weight, all you have to do is take their pill, that’s a scam.
- If someone promises that you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days, that’s a scam.
- If anyone says their product works for everyone, that’s a scam.
Spot one of these scams? Tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
To learn about healthy eating, visit nutrition.gov, ChooseMyPlate.gov, or the Weight Management & Healthy Living Tips from the National Institutes of Health.