Posts Tagged ‘weight-loss scams’

FTC Busts Weight Loss Scams

January 8th, 2014

Just in time for those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has lowered the boom on four weight loss companies for deceptive advertising and returning over $26 million to consumers.

“Operation Failed Resolution” is the latest in a long line of FTC enforcement efforts against the weight loss industry. The latest action targeted Sensa for a dietary supplement which, they claimed, when sprinkled on food would cause weight loss; L’Occitane which claimed that a skin cream would slim down users; HCG Diet Direct which marketed an unproved human hormone as a weight loss treatment; and LeanSpa LLC, which deceptively promoted acai berry and ‘colon cleanse’ for weight loss.

In addition to its enforcement work the FTC has a number of resources, including “Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads,” and “FTC to advertisers: 7 New Year’s resolutions.”

Likewise, the Better Business Bureau has “Gut Check: A Reference Guide for Media Spotting False Weight Loss Claims.”


Federal Trade Commission Attacks Diet Frauds

July 7th, 2011

The Federal Trade Commission has launched a legal assault against an Internet-based network of affiliates selling acai berries and hCG products. The process starts with a seemingly innocent ad offering “1 Tip for a tiny belly.” You have probably seen it. Consumers are led into a maze of websites, many seeming   to be media “investigations” about their products. They are offered trial products and give up their credit card numbers but continue to be charged for products they did not order or thought they were getting on a trial basis. Consumers may have been bilked out of as much as a billion dollars. Ubiquitous ‘tiny belly’ online ad part of scheme, government says – The Washington Post and Won’t be faux-ed again | BCP Business Center

Consumer Protection

September 27th, 2009

So many Americans are desperately trying to lose weight it should be no surprise that there are people willing to take advantage of them by selling untested, ineffective or unsafe products or services.

According to a survey by the Federal Trade Commission, in 2005, 30.2 million adults were victims of fraud. The largest category — affecting 4.8 million Americans — were weight loss scams. FTC Releases Consumer Fraud Survey

Some of the time, state attorneys general and local prosecutors try to prosecute cases of fraud. But most of the enforcement work has fallen to two US government agencies, the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. Here are summaries of their activities

a. The FTC has asked the media to police the weight loss claims that they publish or broadcast. FTC Releases Guidance to Media on False Weight-Loss Claims following a workshop on advertising practices

b.They publish Red Flags to warn consumers against bogus weight loss web sites. Red Flag Bogus Claims

c. They have worked with Mexico and Canada to police international scams United States, Mexico, Canada (MUCH) Combat Weight Loss Fraud

d. See examples of recent regulatory enforcement Internet Marketers of Dietary Supplement for Weight Loss Agree to Pay $150,000 and FTC Targets Weight-Loss Marketers’ Allegedly Bogus ‘Free’ Sample Offers and Marketers of Weight-Loss Patch to Pay More Than $110,000 for Violating Previous FTC Settlements

The Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over dietary supplements (with the Federal Trade Commission as well as other dangerous weight loss products.

They have issued this guide to contaminated weight loss products Questions and Answers about FDA’s Initiative Against Contaminated Weight Loss Products

The FDA’s list of dangerous weight loss products can be found here: FDA Uncovers Additional Tainted Weight Loss Products. Some of their most recent enforcement came against products containing hydroxcut FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Dietary Supplements Labeled Hydroxycut because of the Potential Risk of Severe Liver Injury

Types of health care frauds and how to report them are available at FDA 101: Health Fraud Awareness