by Jenni J., http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com
Americans spend billions of dollars each
year on products or services that claim everything from "losing weight
while you sleep" to "no more arthritic pain." Easy remedies
are hard to resist, but many don't always deliver on their promises. Some
can be harmful.
Health fraud means promoting, for financial gain, a health remedy that
doesn't work -- or hasn't yet been proven to work. Health fraud has grown
significantly in the past several decades. Why such growth? People today
take more personal responsibility for staying healthy. That interest has
launched a huge demand for products and services that promote health.
What are the consequences? Health fraud takes advantage of consumers and
carries significant economic and health risks including:
Unsound nutrition advice, products or services won't prevent or cure
disease. For the best advice, contact your physician and a dietetics
professional such as a registered dietitian.
A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIABLE HEALTH CARE.
Proper health care can be delayed if you follow bad advice. You may lose
something you can't retrieve -- time for effective treatment.
Even under the best of circumstances, some products and services simply
don't work. Why waste your hard-earned money on something that has no
Unsound nutrition advice, products or services can put your health at risk.
Large doses of some vitamins and minerals, in the form of dietary
supplements, can have harmful side effects. For example, excessive vitamin K
is risky if you take blood-thinning drugs. And excessive amounts of vitamin
A during pregnancy increase the chances of birth defects.
What can you do? Below are some tips that can help you in identifying health
fraud and where you can go for sound nutrition information.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Find out more before you purchase a nutrition product, treatment or service.
SEEK ADVICE FROM RELIABLE SOURCES.
It's not easy to distinguish nutrition facts from misinformation. Contact a
credible nutrition source such as a dietetics professional.
REPORT NUTRITION FRAUD.
If you suspect that a statement, product or service is false, discuss it
with the appropriate government agency or file a complaint.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have
produced a brochure, "Miracle Health Claims: Add a Dose of Skepticism," to
help consumers understand the consequences of and learn how to identify
For a copy of the brochure, call 877/382-4357 or write to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Room H 130
Washington, D.C. 20580-0001
To your health!
Some more advice on avoiding fraud (of all types):
When times are tough, the number of scamsters and con artists grows
dramatically. And as noted above, these are tough times. With no real end in
sight for a while.
The basic rules for not becoming a victim of a scamster or con artist haven't
changed. The need for them has intensified, so they are of higher importance
than they used to be. Some of these rules, just to refresh your memory:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- "Get rich quick," when translated into English, means "get fleeced."
- You can't get something for nothing.
- If it's touted as a "once in a lifetime opportunity," it's probably
something you will regret for the rest of your life.
- When you're being pressured to act right away, that's a big red flag.
- Look for the value, not the alleged savings or the profits. If there's
no value, it's a scam. What are you really getting for your money?
- Republicans and Democrats don't need your money so they can "save"
America from each other (in fact, they collude to conduct crimes on a
massive scale). Don't donate to their campaigns; it's a complete waste of
- Scamsters are often in the business of selling false hope. Don't let
your hopes lead you to the poorhouse. Do some research to determine if they
actually have a solution, and personally contact recognized experts in that
field. Allegedly having a cure for Alzheimer's is a big area of scamming,
- A stranger has a great deal and is willing to share it only with you?
And is now suddenly your best buddy? Does not pass the smell test.
- Someone who has huge amounts of money for you can't afford postage or
some other small expense? Right. And Richard Nixon was an honest man.
- The IRS is not trying to find people who didn't collect their refunds.