Eye on Scams: Phony weight-loss advertisements on the rise

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Overstated weight-loss advertisements and scams are on the rise in Acadiana. The desire to get in shape or lose weight fast poses a risk of being deceived. Often these products do not work as advertised or come with a host of unwanted side effects.

“Every year around this time, we receive reports from consumers who didn’t know what terms they were agreeing to when they were potentially purchasing some miracle weight loss drug,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said. “Either the drug itself really isn’t effective or it could have harmful ingredients in it.”

In a recent Federal Trade Commission survey, 6.5 million U.S. adults fell victim to weight-loss scams.
“We don’t want to fall into these traps with these scams. These diet scams have been around for years.” Bianca Plant, a registered dietician, said. “They’re just pretty much progressing now, and it’s a marketing scheme for people to buy these ‘lose weight quick’ schemes, but actually, it’s not normal and it’s not healthy.”
Plant says when it comes to losing weight, it’s about promoting a lifestyle of change.

“Some of those diets you’ll hear on TV, you’ll hear about taking a pill and drinking these powders. Not all of them are bad, but you do have to remember when you hear ‘miraculous’ and it burns off and it dissolves, that doesn’t mean that it’s natural. It only means that it’s a marketing scheme to spend your money,” explained Plant.

The marketing schemes are used to push these products to convinced consumers, Babin said.

These weight loss products, if received at all after purchase, are often ineffective in delivering their promised results or worse, can have potentially dangerous side effects.

“The healthiest ways to have a well-balanced diet, a well-balanced lifestyle of eating, is incorporating that portion control, and drinking lots of water,” added Plant.

To help you avoid weight loss scams, here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana:

  • Always be cautious of advertisements and customer endorsements promising ‘miracle’ results of immediate weight loss. 
  • Determine your fitness goals. We know it’s hard work to lose weight… find a program you can stick with.
  • Check a product’s ingredients with the FDA. Be suspicious of taking special pills, powders or herbs.
  • Read all terms and conditions for any weight loss products. Before purchasing, make sure it doesn’t include signing up for a subscription.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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