June 16, 2013

Tips on Avoiding Health Frauds and Scams

Though it is true that the health market is filled with many products that can help you deal with various problems, it shouldn't be forgotten that wherever money can be made, scammers are bound to be found.

As you probably know already, there is a good deal of health products which are actually part of a scam, and it generally consists of ripping people off for a cheap product that does not work. These products can be found virtually anywhere, from magazines, to billboards, the internet and even infomercials on television. In other words, you can find them anywhere you would find regular products.

Why they are Not Worth It

Apart from the fact that you are going to be losing money when falling for a scam, there are some other risks which need to be taken into consideration. As Gary Coody (the FDA’s national health fraud coordinator) explained it, putting untested products into your body may cause various conditions to develop, in addition to which it can delay the administration of a potentially life-saving treatment. Otherwise explained, the products can harm you and prevent you from receiving the treatment you need.

As a matter of fact, in the last few years the problem has been getting a bit more out of hand than usual, as the FDA has actually found hundreds of products, most of them centered on weight loss, illegally marketed as something they are not (dietary supplements in a majority of cases). Some of them were quite dangerous, such as Meridia, which was withdrawn from the market after it was proven to contain sibutramine, elevating one’s risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

How to Spot the Health Frauds and Scams

Now, the time has come to actually provide you with some useful advice on how you can avoid such terrible scams in the future and live a healthier life. The first tip I’ll impart on you is to be wary of products that claim they can do it all for you.

Certain companies claim their products can be used to treat a myriad of unrelated conditions, such as gangrene, kidney dysfunction and osteoarthritis, as did a certain New York firm, shortly before being rightfully taken down by the FDA. Remember, no product out there can solve all your problems.

Another tip is to be wary of testimonials that you see on the product websites. Basically, there are two types of success stories: real and fake ones. The former is generally characterized by a relatively detailed account of how the product impacted the life of the one who bought it. However, the fake testimonials are generally shorter, and they contain dubious sentences which, in one way or another, state that the product has completely cured their serious illness.

When we have problems, we want them resolved as fast as possible, and scammers use that to their advantage by claiming their products can get the job done in a very short amount of time. As it happens, there are very few diseases and conditions out there which can actually be treated quickly, and if a product comes with claims that seem too good to be true, do some research and see how long the process would normally take using common methods.

Though it is certainly a good sign when a product is natural, don’t base your entire decision on that aspect alone. Volcanoes and poisonous mushrooms are natural, doesn’t mean they’ll be any good for your health. In many cases, scammers will also mix the natural ingredients with prescription ones without even making any mention of it.

If there was one term that had to sound the red alarm in your head, it would have to be “miracle cure”. In my experience, and I’m sure everyone else’s, any product which claims to be the breakthrough of the century or to offer a miraculous solution to your problem will, more than likely, provide very underwhelming results. If there is actually some kind of notable breakthrough in the medical community, it will be widely reported on by journalists and doctors rather than be hidden on some obscure websites.

Finally, there are those who try to boost their sales by claiming the government and pharmaceutical industry are in conspiracy to shut down the miraculous cure they are promoting. In every single case such statements were proven false, and their only purpose is to distract you from using your common sense and logic.

Naturally, these tips won’t allow you to spot every single fraudulent product out there, especially considering that scammers keep evolving their methods as we learn to spot them. Nevertheless, they will allow you to circumvent a heck of lot of false hopes and illusions on your way to finding something which actually works as advertised.

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