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Lifestyle

Want to shed some pounds? Don’t fall for these weight loss scams

Overwhelmed by your New Year’s resolutions? We can help you get started with a critical one: improving your cybersecurity. These five tech resolutions will carry you through 2023 and beyond.

Losing weight is among the most common resolutions and, unfortunately, scammers are waiting to pounce. The crooks know that January and February are the best times to trick people into buying phony products or signing up for fake newsletters.

Here’s what to watch out for on your journey to better health.

Here’s the backstory

If you’ve ever set a health goal, you know that it can be challenging to stick with it. Many things can entice you in the wrong direction, leaving you to deal with the consequences down the road.

While several products and services can legitimately help, scammers are also cashing in on the action. According to the Better Business Bureau, this time of year sees many scams involving supplements and weight loss formulas claiming to offer rapid results.

This includes body wraps, topical creams, dietary supplements, pills, powders, skin patches and even earrings that have been advertised to “melt,” “flush,” “burn” or “dissolve” away unwanted fat fast. Watch out for those buzzwords!

These are, at best, dubious claims and at worst, outright scams. There is often fine print with supplements that locks you into a hefty subscription, too. Some victims think they were making a one-time purchase, only to be repeatedly billed for the same product. 

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What you can do about it

You can do several things to stay safe on your health journey.

  • Don’t blindly trust an endorsement. Scammers use unauthorized photos, likenesses or quotes from celebrities or well-known people to trick potential customers.
  • There’s no miracle cure for weight loss, and any product that promises instant results should be avoided. Steer clear of products that claim you can lose several pounds a day, as scammers try to sell fake products faster to get more money.
  • Before buying anything, do some research on the product’s ingredients. Check that it’s approved by the FDA, as recalled products can have potentially dangerous effects.
  • Read the fine print of any free trial. Note when it expires, if it automatically renews or how to cancel it. Many free trials can lock you into a contract that’s incredibly difficult to stop. 
  • Always be aware of how much you are expected to pay and whether it’s a one-time purchase or a subscription. Go over your banking statements and alert your bank if you see multiple transactions for the same product or service.

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