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How to spot a Health Fraud

If an advertisement for a health product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to be aware of fraudulent health claims. Food and Drug Administration describes a health fraud as "articles of unproven effectiveness that are promoted to improve health, well being or appearance." The articles can be drugs, devices, foods, or cosmetics for human or animal use.

It is very important to be aware because products claiming to cure conditions such as obesity, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer's may contain harmful ingredients.

Health frauds are all around us. Promotions for fraudulent products appear daily in newspaper and magazine ads and TV "infomercial's." They accompany products sold in stores, on the Internet, and through mail-order catalogs. Health frauds are also passed along by word-of-mouth.

Protect Yourself

Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement or medicine (this includes diet and herbal supplements). Avoid products that make the following claims and/or statements:

  1. Quick and effective cure-all.
  2. Scientific Breakthrough.
  3. Ancient remedy or secret ingredients.
  4. No risk money-back guarantees.
  5. Undocumented personal testimonials by doctors or consumers claiming miraculous results.
  6. Advance payment required.

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