Want to shed some pounds in 2024? Watch out for scams.

ConsumerAffairs

Our list of scams could save the day

What have Americans resolved to do better in 2024? Take care of themselves.

According to a new Statista study, eating healthier, exercising more, losing weight, drinking less, quitting smoking, and becoming a vegetarian/vegan represent nearly half of the goals that we have for the year. One of those, however, stands out like a sore thumb when it comes to getting scammed: losing weight.

Scammers are so resolved to help consumers lose money instead of weight that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says scammers are showing up everywhere. Not just in online pitches for things like weight loss pills, patches, creams, or “fake” Ozempic, but now they’re tying in subscriptions and endorsements to help convince someone to help them shed a few pounds. 

Shark Tank…

A case-in-point of that deception is products claiming to have been endorsed by celebrities or on popular TV shows like Shark Tank. The Shark Tank angle is particularly concerning, given the show’s massive viewership and the fact that its experts invest millions of dollars into product development which, when leveraged in an ad can look impressive to a consumer.

ConsumerAffairs research uncovered everything from Facebook pages for “Purefit KETO” and “One Shot Keto diet pills” that swear their product is either a “Shark Tank Official Product” or that “Every Judge On Shark Tank Backed This Product!" 

One supplement company that is investing all it takes to be the first result when you search for “Keto diet Shark Tank” is the company experthealthreview.com with a paid-for placement that says, "Official Shark Tank diet drink Reviews - #1 Weight Loss Gummies In 2023. Our Health Experts Tested 100s Of The Best Rated Shark Tank Diet Drink On The Market Today."

However, there’s nothing on ExpertHealthReview.com that mentions “Shark Tank” and the company did not respond to ConsumerAffairs' request for clarification and confirmation of Shark Tank’s endorsement. 

But, Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner isn’t too happy about it, that we know. Greiner pulled no punches on her website about how little consumers should trust anything they see related to Keto or diet aid productswith her name attached to it.

“I DO NOT sell or endorse any “Keto”, “Weight Loss” or “Diet Aid” Products and I’m NOT affiliated in any way with these ads,” Greiner says. “These are Fake Ads and Scam Ads. They photoshop their keto product into my hands.”

… or shark bite?

“Scammers will say just about anything to get you to buy their weight loss or fitness products,” Ari Lazarus, an FTC consumer education specialist, says. Lazarus says some of the just-about-anything weight loss promises will look like this:

  • 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? Scam.

  • If someone tells you that, to lose weight, all you have to do is take their pill? Scam.

  • If someone says thatDr. Oz, Dolly Parton, or Kelly Clarkson endorse their product? Very likely a scam.

  • If someone promises that you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days? Royal scam.

  • If a company says its weight loss product is “approved” by the FDA? Scam, scam, scam. Unlike prescription meds, dietary supplements aren't evaluated or reviewed by the FDA for effectiveness.

  • If it’s a “review” site – like the one promoting Shark Tank’s love of a Keto product – or TikTok videos, be doubly careful. It’s best to stick to consumer product review sites that allow both goodandbad reviews of weight loss plans and products. 

For example, ConsumerAffairs has ranked the best weight loss programs based on thousands of verified consumer reviews.

If someone says you need to sign up for a subscription

If you find a weight loss company that offers you a “free trial” or says you need to sign up for a “subscription” or “plan” to make their weight loss system work, you should also proceed with caution. 

There are some unscrupulous companies that go hard and heavy with their come-ons, yet make it hard to cancel or get a refund. 

Free trial offers should always be viewed with skepticism, regardless of who is offering them. Before committing to any program or product, make sure you understand the terms and conditions. Reading the fine print is a hassle for sure, but it’s five minutes that could save you $500.

Another trick scammers and fraudsters use when making consumers sign up for subscription or membership programs is to have pre-checked boxes designed to trick you into signing up for more than you want without your consent.

Educate yourself about weight loss

Weight loss doesn't have a universal fix, but it certainly is well-studied. Over the years, ConsumerAffairs has produced many articles on the subject. It might be of help to read several of these just so you have a better idea of what's what.

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