How to Spot a Health Product Scam


NEW YORK (MainStreet) —  You might want to check out the video above before you give in and buy that “get thin quick” product you saw advertised on the Internet.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, many of those types of advertisements are simply health fraud scams, or products that claim to prevent, treat or cure diseases or other health conditions, but are not proven safe and effective for those uses. The scams can be advertised via TV infomercials, radio, direct mail, newspapers, magazines and other forms of media, but are especially prevalent on the Internet.

Besides being a waste of money, these types of scams could jeopardize a person’s health if they lead to delays in real treatment and diagnosis, the FDA says.

The video above reviews the red flags consumers should be on the lookout for when they find themselves thinking about buying an unfamiliar health remedy. The two biggest telltale signs of a scam include claims that the product can cure a wide range of serious illnesses like diabetes, and that the product can provide quick fixes to other ailments.

The video is part of a new website launched by the FDA that seeks to educate the public on how to avoid health fraud scams through videos and articles. The site also offers information about products that have been seized, recalled or are the subject of warnings from the agency.

Throughout 2011, the FDA has been cracking down on products that make health claims that haven’t been proven effective, including hand sanitizers that claim to prevent serious bacterial infections, brownies that reduce stress and promote relaxation and over-the-counter drugs that cure sexually transmitted diseases.

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