An estimated $35 billion is spent each year in the U.S. on weight loss products. And fraudulent products, which offer weight loss without reduced caloric intake and increasing activity levels, continue to appear in the marketplace. These scams, reflecting the willingness of many to spend money for “instant results”, are flourishing and rapidly growing in number.
“It is estimated that 300,000 deaths annually could be prevented if there was a real product to make weight loss simple and safe,” said Bill Moak, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Mississippi. “People desperate to lose weight are often fooled by scams simply because they hope that they are not scams. They are looking for an easier, faster, painless way to lose weight.”
The BBB offers the following tips on ways to spot weight loss scams:
• Unrealistic weight loss promises.
• Claims of “secret” formulas.
• Lack of a physical address for the business.
• Promises of rapid weight loss.
• Promises to lose fat or cellulite in a specific part of the body.
• Promises of permanent weight loss.
The following are examples of weight loss scams:
• No products are sent following payment.
• Products sent are of no benefit at all.
• Claims of product ingredients that aren’t substantiated.
• Products contain very low levels of active ingredients.
• Product names similar to real products which do not contain the same ingredients or quality.
“At the BBB we often claim the slogan that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” Moak continued. “We urge consumers to thoroughly check out the company and the plan before signing up.