Miracles for Sale
If it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Don’t be a victim of health fraud — watch for these warning signs.
- “Miracle cure!”
- “Scientific breakthrough!”
- “Quick fix!”
You’ve probably heard or seen these phrases in relation to a drug, food, device or service as a “cure” for a health problem. But more often than not, these “cures” are just your modern-day snake oils. And they are everywhere: TV infomercials, social media, emails, newspapers and even in some retail stores.
Many health scams are targeted to people with weight loss problems, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that are hard to treat or incurable.
Unfortunately, people our age are easy targets for these fraudsters because we are more likely to have one or more of these types of health problems. That’s why it’s really important to be able to recognize “miracles for sale” when you see them.
Here are some sales techniques scammers often use to promote their product.
- Exploit Emotional Vulnerability – Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition is hard. Scammers know that — and they use it to play right into your feelings. Knowing most people would be open to a cure, they use that to promote their seemingly “natural” and “effective” products that can actually do more harm than good — especially if mixed with other medications.
- Personal Testimonials – If a scammer has no shame in selling false products, they won’t have shame in telling false stories, either. Don’t fall for the “success stories” – they are not justifiable, nor proof, let alone scientific proof.
- Conspiracy Theories – It’s not uncommon to hear theories about collaboration between the government and pharmaceutical companies hiding information. Fraudsters will use conspiracy theories like this to distract the consumer from doubting their product or service.
- All Natural or Organic – If it came from the ground or has minimal additives, it must be good — right? No. In fact, some plants can kill you if digested. Even more, the FDA has found several unregulated “all natural” products that actually have dangerous and untested ingredients.
Three Rules of Thumb
If you’re unsure whether or not a product is real and safe, remember these three rules of thumb:
- If a doctor hasn’t or won’t prescribe or recommend it, don’t take it.
- If it’s not FDA approved, beware.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Remember, always ask your medical provider before taking any medications.