These scams promise weight loss for little or no effort. The scam may involve an unusual or restrictive diet, ‘revolutionary’ exercise or fat-busting devices, or products such as pills, patches, or creams.
Scammers exploit the fact that people can often be attracted by promises of success with little effort. Many weight loss scams suggest that you can achieve great results without having to do any extra exercise or even modify your diet.
Often, attractive people or celebrities are used to sell the products. These may be people with a different body shape and metabolism to you and who use the product in conjunction with an exercise regime and strict diet.
At best fad diets and products might result in a temporary weight loss in the short term and can be dangerous if followed over a longer period. Unless a person develops and maintains a better diet and physical activity habit, any weight lost (often water or muscle rather than fat) will soon return.
Find out what evidence is used to support the weight loss claims made for the product. Do not rely only on testimonials from people who have used the product. These people may profit from selling you the product and may mislead you to do so.
If you think you need, or want, to lose weight you should discuss the options with a health care professional such as a dietician or your local GP. Some of the weight loss products or schemes offered by scammers can have very serious consequences for your health if you take them up.
If the offer involves an expensive or ongoing plan, you should look at the terms and conditions before signing or agreeing to it. Make sure you find out how much the plan will cost in total and what exactly you will receive for your money. Also check to see if there is a ‘cooling off’ period where you can change your mind, and what you have to do to end the contract if you are not satisfied.
If you think a weight loss offer is a scam, just ignore it.
If you think the weight loss product or scheme may be worth considering, you should seek the advice of a qualified health care professional before you start. Make sure you know the terms and conditions of any product or service that you plan to sign up for. Pay very close attention to any conditions attached to a ‘money back guarantee’ offer.
If you think you have seen a weight loss scam, you can let the authorities know through the report a scam section of SCAMwatch. You should also warn your family and friends about the scheme or product.