Watch out for weight loss program scams in the new year

A sign reading ""2020 is here." Is seen with New Year's Eve Ball during the New Year's Eve Ball Test at Times Square on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in New York (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
caption arrowCaption
A sign reading ""2020 is here." Is seen with New Year's Eve Ball during the New Year's Eve Ball Test at Times Square on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in New York (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Credit: Yuki Iwamura

Credit: Yuki Iwamura

With the new year come promises to eat better and lose weight. But that’s where it’s so easy to fall victim to a weight loss scam.

It’s one of several New Year’s scams the Better Business Bureau is warning about ahead of 2022.

A few months back, Gloria, who did not want to give her last name, ordered a trial of weight loss supplements.

“If you try it for $4.99, you just sample it for 30 days and let them know if you want to continue,” she said.

But the supplements kept coming, and so did the bills.

“I was billed over $600,” she said.

Weight loss scams

The Better Business Bureau’s Sara Kemerer says weight-loss scams are the top ripoff of the new year, as many people order pills and supplements advertised on social media.

“They see these products. They see detox teas, pills, exercise equipment to lose weight, and they sign up,” Kemerer said.

Kemerer says before trying a diet, research it for complaints.

“So Google the name of the product or name of the business, and then Google the word ‘complaint’ or ‘reviews,’ just to see what people have to say about it,” she said.

Gym ripoffs

The BBB says while gyms are not “scams” in the true sense of the word, the agency gets complaints every January about gym contracts that turn out to be too good to be true.

The BBB says a typical gym ripoff is a $9 a month offer that turns into $29 a month and then automatically renews.

“They are good at taking your money because you accidentally sign up for auto-renewal, and you have no idea you did that,” Kemerer said.

In addition, she says to find out what happens if you can no longer use the gym due to an injury or a move.

Fake review scams

Finally, Kemerer says to watch for fake reviews of workout products.

“Make sure you see reviews from a third-party website because it is so easy to say, ‘This is Sara, and I love this product. I lost 80 pounds,’” she said.

Anyone considering buying a treadmill, exercise bike or any other product should read reviews on magazine websites, Amazon, CNET and other places and look up the company at the Better Business Bureau.

WCPO is a content partner of the Journal-News.

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