Be Wary of Health Fraud Scams

You know that if you are ever injured as the result of an unsafe or defective product, we’re here to help. But honestly, we would much rather help you prevent injury in the first place. Today, we would like to share some important information about health fraud scams.

Among of the first goals of the early days of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was to protect consumers from “snake oil salesmen” who swindled vulnerable sick people. More than a century later, the FDA is still working to foil purveyors of health fraud. Now, the fight against snake oil salesmen has hit the Internet.

The FDA has set up a Health Fraud Scams website, which pulls together videos and articles on how to avoid these types of fraudulent schemes, and offers info about products that have been recalled or which are the subject of warnings. To see the site, click here:  FDA Health Fraud Scam website

Gary Coody, R.Ph., national health fraud coordinator at FDA, calls the site “one-stop shopping” for people who want to learn how to recognize and avoid health fraud scams. Anyone can search the site to see if FDA has taken an action against a product or company. However, just because a product is not listed does not mean that it is legally marketed or safe to use.


Health scams profit off people’s desperation. They know the language that draws attention…and empties wallets. Some red flag warning phrases that signal potential fraud are:

  • Cure All!
  • Quick Fix!
  • Ancient Remedy!
  • Secret Formula!
  • Revolutionary!
  • New Science!
  • Amazing Results!
  • Act Now!
  • Limited Availability!
  • Lose weight…without diet or exercise!

There are three ways you can go wrong with a fraudulent product:  1) You can waste money on products that don’t work;  2) you can become seriously injured by dangerous products; or 3) you waste time and delay getting proper treatment because you are trying something different.

According to Dr. Coody: “The Internet has opened up the world market to people from their personal computers.”  If you’re tempted to purchase any unproven or little known treatment, especially if it’s sold on the Internet, check with your doctor or health care professional first, he advises.

To visit the FDA’s health fraud scam website, click here:  FDA Health Fraud Scam website

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