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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.

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Products promising lightning-fast weight loss are always a scam. Spot one? Tell the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov

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.govChooseMyPlate.gov, or the Weight Management & Healthy Living Tips from the National Institutes of Health.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Charlene J Cole
January 03, 2024

This is a great, informative effort. Thank you so much

Janet Bohl
January 02, 2024

The Kelly Clarkson gummies is a SCAM. I got charged $196.00 & can't get a refund, even though it said if not satisfied for any reason can get a full refund in 30 days!

Teresa Honeycutt
January 03, 2024

In reply to by Janet Bohl

Yes same SCAM for me just a different scammer. I bought Keto Gummies thru an Instagram ad that was being promoted by Shark Tank. Obviously it was an AI lie. I was overcharged $198 and called immediately. The customer service person did credit me with $100. I also was told I could return (fully guaranteed). Not so! I filed a claim with my credit card company and nothing was done even after I provided emails. So then I filed a report here with the Federal Trade Commission. Nothing happened here either. The ads are still circulating Instagram just different scammers. How can these people continue to scam unsuspecting people and get by with it?? I report every fake/fraudulent ad I see to Instagram as a scam but another one pops up!

Michael Muldoon
February 09, 2024

In reply to by Teresa Honeycutt

The problem is International law. If a scammer lives in another country and you live in another country your laws don’t affect the scammer who lives in another country. And therefore no prosecution can take place.

Emily post
February 12, 2024

In reply to by Teresa Honeycutt

Thx for your honesty on reporting this..I fell for the same ad…when I got my jars of yellow gummies, what happened to all the colors they advertise?..I sent an email to the one they gave us, and it wasn’t working….sent an email to another one and they won’t answer back..questioned them on the FB site, and they won’t post it, says it’s pending…you pay all that money for sugar & syrup, according to the label….i truly hope you get/ got your $100 back…while reading different posts, one keeps calling back, and they told one lady “ oh, it’s going out today”… it’s been 2 weeks and she is still waiting..

Mz Jaybee
February 05, 2024

In reply to by Janet Bohl

These scams put disclaimers in tiny print. Their "refund if not satisfied" has conditions ("terms apply") that are buried in so-called "privacy" declarations. One trick is they tell you (if you can find it!) "using this website constitutes a contract with you the purchaser." They sell. We buy.

No, you won't get a refund. You will get a runaround. If you request a refund they may tell you "yes, within 7-10 business days" and the only thing you will get is a new shipment!

So what's the cure? Once you've clicked and are charged report your card "lost or stolen" then promise yourself you'll never ever sign up for a "trial" anything. They are traps. Typically they take between 3 to 4 months to "help you" and then you may only get a portion of your money refunded--if at all.

The bank won't help you if you just report you've signed up for one product and been charged for something altogether different because (remember this one) "You willingly gave the company your payment information and you 'signed a contract' aka "a promise to purchase."

Report your card lost or stolen. Don't bother opening a dispute which can take anywhere from 30 to 180 days to "settle."

Gs
January 02, 2024

What about the latest tv commercial that touts the use of semaglutide (which is meant for type 2 diabetes) as a weight loss drug. There are many side effects, none of which are too very pleasant. Where is the government watchdogs when these drugs go in a very different direction?

Jacquelyn Hammans
January 09, 2024

I have a thought as to how people are opening the door to these weight loss ads that are taking over their Facebook feed. I had a lady that I worked with post something about, “if you can find the missing number, I am going to gift the first person that responds with something. I didn’t trust her so I didn’t respond. But two other mutual friends did and now they are getting those weight loss ads on their Facebook feed. Just wondering if this woman is some how getting paid by the weight loss company for getting people to put these ads on Facebook? The people that it has happened to, don’t even know that they have been scammed. One of my friends asked her about it and she said she had been hacked. But she is back at it again tonight. She has no job and is always asking to borrow money. So I figure there has to be a payoff for doing this!

Niurka
January 11, 2024

I really appreciate all the FTC's efforts on cracking down on the charlatans in healthcare. We need you TY

Mz Jaybee
February 05, 2024

In reply to by Sharon

You gave them your payment information. The other trick they use is the order # is 800. They won't help you with refunds, complaints, etc. For that you call a toll number and get to listen to "Your call is very important to us. Please wait on the line for one of our customer service agents." The message repeats and you never get to speak to an agent.

The only thing you can do to stop being charged and stop receiving products is report your card lost. The instant you do that your card will be disabled and you'll wait to receive a new one via snail mail.

If you have automatic payments attached to your card you'll start to receive emails or phone calls about your card being "declined." The vendor may even charge you a "missed payment" fee. To prevent this from happening contact the vendor(s) to provide another payment method a.s.a.p.

Cheryl Dillinger
February 09, 2024

In reply to by Sharon

How can I get Kelly Clarkson off of my feed on Facebook? I am blocking and snoozing her ads 25 times a day

Judith Laurie
February 20, 2024

Thank you for having this website and to help clear up the verbiage used by all of these companies, not to mention all the money I have saved!

Jacquie
February 22, 2024

I ordered one bottle for 39.99 i was charged 239.99. They would not answer my emails. My bank could not stop the payment.. it's robbery. Will never order anything from the FB site again