BBB Warning: Beware of Weight Loss Scams

January 10, 2017

Woman measuring her waistLosing weight or getting fit are at the top of the list when it comes to new year’s resolutions.  Apart from joining a gym many also look to pharmaceuticals to help jump start their weight loss journeys. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Oklahoma wants consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent products.  In 2015, Google blocked more than 12.5 million pharmaceutical ads that violated proprietary healthcare and medicine policies.  They also shut down more than 30 thousand weight loss scam websites for misleading claims.  The fight against these deceitful companies continued in 2016, but many consumers continue to fall for their propaganda. 



BBB shares these five tips for spotting weight loss scams:

  1. Never Click Unknown Links in an Email - In early 2016, millions of illegal spam emails were sent urging people to try new miracle weight-loss pills.  Why would anyone fall for that?  Because the emails were made to look like they were coming from a friend whose account had been hacked. Always check with the sender (not via email) before opening a link sent in an email.  If you don’t know them well enough to check, don’t open it.
  2. Read Reviews - Before investing in a new product always read the reviews.  You can find reviews on BBB’s Website or by entering “[Product Name] Review” in your favorite search engine.
  3. Don’t Always Trust Promotions - Scam product websites will be littered with supposed media endorsements but these are often fake.  Always do your own research no matter how many news and media logos they tout.  Take celebrity endorsements with a grain of salt.  These individuals are paid to say positive things about the products and may not have ever even used them. 
  4. Scan for Buzzwords - These phony products will often be promoted using terms like “breakthrough,” “revolutionary,” “miraculous,” “secret,” or “miracle.”  Scammers often pair these buzzwords with wonderful claims of people who have shed pounds often without any dieting or exercise.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  5.  Be Wary of Free Trials - Despite claiming to cost nothing, you are often required to make a purchase first to receive an additional “free” amount of the product. For more reasons on why free doesn’t always mean free check out the FTC’s Consumer Information article.

If you do spot a scam or even purchase a phony product report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker or file a complaint with the FTC. Are you thinking about joining a gym? Be sure to read our tips for choosing the right one before you sign any contracts. 


About Better Business Bureau

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2015, consumers turned to BBB over 172 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation. For more information, visit