Did you know Weight loss scams are a thing? According to survey data from customer research firm MRI-Simmons, more than 100 million Americans watched their diet lose weight in 2020. Such numbers feed a U.S. weight-loss industry worth $70 billion a year. Unfortunately, widespread trade in obscure products will reduce only your money.
The weight loss industry is widespread in shady products that do nothing other than empty your bank balance. Phony diet products and programs top the health care scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They will make more than a third of such complaints in 2020.
Marketers pull shticks to get people to purchase their wares. Some launch websites identical to magazines and news organizations and stuff them with phony articles that claim celebrities have achieved excellent results from these diet pills or herbal supplements.
The others attack social media with bogus posts or “influencing” followers to promote hoax products.
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What are Weight Loss Scams?
False advertisers will say anything to get you to purchase their weight loss diet plans and products. These weight loss scams use all kinds of promises to get people to believe their claims.
Some of the false signs from weight loss advertisements
- Lose weight without exercising or dieting. (You won’t.)
- You don’t have to follow what you eat to lose weight. (You do.)
- If you use these products, you will lose weight forever. (Wrong.)
- To lose weight, you have to take a red & blue pill. (Not true.)
- You can lose 30 kgs in 30 days. (Nope.)
- This product/plan works for everyone. (It doesn’t.)
- Lose weight with this cream. (You can’t.)
These crooks peddle disappointment to people looking to lose weight and poison them with hidden ingredients that pose health risks. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that many weight-loss products contain drugs like sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the market because it can increase blood pressure and heart rate and raise the chances of heart attack and stroke.
The “free” trial offers that you fall for are also a danger to your money because they come along with hidden charges. You can get tricked into enrolling for a costly subscription plan. Then, the monthly orders can drop the bills in one go and charge you for stuff you never asked for. FTC warns you against the marketers that offer no-risk, money-back guarantees because you may then find it impossible to cancel or get a refund.
How to Identify Weight Loss scams?
It is not easy to differentiate between beneficial products and scams when it comes to losing weight. However, don’t fall for marketing tricks that do not deliver actual results. Often, the advertisements that catch our eye are red flags you need to be wary of.
The phrases that go,
- “…clinically proven to burn more fats…”
- “…backed by science…”
- “…laboratory tested to lose weight faster…”
are scientific claims that intend to gain your confidence. But, unfortunately, they are sold as diet pills and other products that are not effective or of any use. In some cases, they may be harmful to consume.
Don’t risk your money or safety on these products. Instead, achieve your goals without taking help from these scams.
Advertisements are touting products with exaggerated terms like “miracle,” “revolutionary,” or “scientific breakthrough.”
Promises that you’ll lose a certain percentage or kilos of weight per day, week, or month.
Some even claim that you can lose weight while eating as much as you want.
Vague Use of Percents
Boastful impressive scientific results are how they grab your attention. But, unfortunately, they sugarcoat lab results and use ambiguous percentages.
- “…burns 40% more fat…”
- “…burn 80% more calories…”
- “…lose weight 60% faster….”
Citing clinical studies does not make that product scientifically efficient. In some cases, the long list of clinical studies is not relevant to the product at all. At times, the studies contradict their claims, but they think the consumer won’t bother reading the studies.
The ads for diet pills or weight-loss products use phrases like,
- “…breakthrough formula…”
- “…exclusive ingredients…”
According to the experts, there are no weight loss secrets that can magically reduce your weight. Instead, most weight loss success stories happen with time-tested lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
Refunds with indiscernible fine print
Often these weight loss pills and products offer a money-back guarantee. It gives the buyer a sense of security because they assume that they will get their money back if the product turns out useless. But, unfortunately, these refund policies often come with fine print, which suggests that you may not be able to get your money back at all.
Always read the small print with these products. Get to know the following things before you make a buying decision:
- If you can get your money back
- By when you can return the product
- How to return the product
- How much money will be refunded
How to Avoid Weight Loss Scams?
- Any promise of magical weight loss is simply false.
- There’s no magic to help you lose weight, only regular exercise, and a sensible diet. No product/plan will let you eat all the food you like and still drop weight.
- Permanent lifestyle changes lead to permanent weight loss. Do not trust any product/plan that promises permanent results.
- Before buying a weight-loss product, seek advice from a credible source, preferably your doctor or a dietician. You can know whether the product is safe and effective or advise you with better ways to reach your weight goal.
- Fact-check. If the product touts to be scientifically proven, check them up. See if the results are accurate and the researchers credible.
- Check the company’s reputation.
- The touted products as “natural” or “herbal” don’t mean they are safe or wholesome. Some herbal ingredients are even toxic in specific doses.
- Scrutinize every aspect before signing up for a free trial online.
- Do not trust marketing gimmicks that claim they can help you lose weight without changing your diet or exercise routine.
- Do not end up buying weight loss body wraps, patches, creams, lotions, or gadgets. Wearing or applying products cannot aid you in weight loss.
What to do if you have lost funds to a weight loss scam?
Not all products are scams but they don’t provide the “significant” results you are looking for and the ones they are claiming either. So scan closely for the red flags indicating weight loss scams, and gather information.
Work from home and the never-ending lockdown are making people gain weight. Unfortunately, scammers are finding ways to take advantage of this by luring people into these gambits. Financial Fund Recovery is sending a warning to their clients and helping them have a safe tomorrow and invest with care.