With the new year approaching I know many people will be making resolutions, and often times those resolutions involve being healthier (“it’s a new year, I’ll start to treat my body with respect!”). For those who are thinking about starting a new supplement of some sort, this post is especially important. But let’s be honest, this post is important for everyone considering dietary supplements/herbals are a $5.2 billion/year business!
I recently read an article in Nutrition Action Newsletter (written by the Center for Science in the Public Interest), which disclosed some tips on avoiding supplement scams, particularly for supplements sold online.
Here are some of the tips;
- Ignore the pedigree.If you see an ad for a supplement on a website that you believe to be reputable, don’t assume that means the website host agrees with the product or supports use of the product. Most sites sell their space to ad networks without even knowing which ads they are running. You’ve probably seen it on blogs, right? How many times have you read a blog about “healthy body images” only to see an add for a weight loss supplement on the bottom? I hate that.
- Don’t fall for before-and-after photos.Come on, you’re smarter than that. It’s 2011 and you know that by now technology can do so many things! One of those things is the ability to take a photo and manipulate it to make it look “better”. Oh, and most of the “doctors” and “physicians” you see on the television are actors. Don’t be fooled.
- Beware of “free” trials. This is often just a way for the company to gain access to your information and credit card number. You may get charged each month, such as with this “Acai Berry Scam”.
- Don’t blindly trust “review” websites. The websites www.dietpillsforwomen.org is an example of a scam review website. If you read the fine print of their disclosure you will learn that they do not claim accuracy for their reviews, and that they are paid commission on the pills they sell.
- Look for a street address. A website that only has a toll-free number or e-mail address as their contact could easily be offshore and out of reach if you run into a problem with their product.
- Check for complaints. Many online consumers will post complaints about products on websites such as complaintsboard.com, complaints.com, and ripoffreport.com.
If you want to learn more about dietary supplements, in general, check out this post I wrote last year.
QUESTION: Do you have other tips for avoiding online supplement scams? Have you ever been scammed?
And on a completely different note….how’s the weather where you live? It’s way too warm here to be Christmas. I wish winter would get here soon, so it can go away sooner than later (we are just putting off the inevitable here in C-bus) and it can actually feel like Christmas!! Ugh.