Health & medical products

Health and medical product scams may sell you healthcare products at low prices that you never receive, or make false promises about their ‘cure-all’ products, medicines and treatments.

Common examples of health and medical product scams

  • Fake online pharmacies – the scammer offers cheap healthcare products or medicines without prescriptions via an email or website.
  • Miracle cures – these scams make promises about a range of ‘cure-all’ products and services that can appear to be legitimate treatments for many different medical conditions.

Warning signs

  • The product is sold through unconventional means. For example, it might be sold over the internet, by unqualified individuals, through mail order ads, or on television infomercials.
  • The product or scheme lacks scientific evidence or demonstrated links between the result and the effects of the program, food, supplement, gadget or process being promoted.

Protect yourself

  • When using a retail website find out exactly who you are dealing with. If it is an Australian company you are in a much better position to sort out the problem if something goes wrong.
  • Make sure you know the full price of the product in Australian dollars (a lot of online shopping prices are quoted in $US) including any delivery charges.
  • Read all the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully: claims of free or very cheap offers may have hidden costs.
  • Ask yourself if the claims made about the product are reasonable or just too good to be true.
  • Be suspicious of uninvited emails or pop-up boxes offering you unbelievable deals. Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam) and do not click on or open any files attached to them: delete them.
  • Do an internet search using the website name or exact wording of the email or message to check for possible customer feedback after purchasing from the website and any references to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.

Have you been scammed?

If you've been scammed there are steps you can take to minimise the damage and prevent further loss.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

More information

Online shopping scams

Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.

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