Warning: Weight loss scams targeting vulnerable people

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning people to beware of weight loss shams that generally target vulnerable people.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Dr Michael Schaper said on Friday it was the time of year when people spruiking all types of weight loss scams were the most active.

"Scammers are experts at preying upon people's vulnerabilities and try to take advantage of people's good intentions to improve their health in the new year," he said.

"Unfortunately if you fall for this scam the only place you will feel lighter is your wallet.

"Remember that there are no magic pills for rapid weight loss so be very sceptical about claims of effortless, large or fast weight loss."

Dr Schaper said these scams promise dramatic weight loss for little or no effort.

"They typically involve an unusual or restrictive diet, revolutionary exercise, a 'fat-busting' device or breakthrough pills, patches or creams," he said.

"They are advertised online or via mail order with enticing claims usually accompanied by bogus before and after pictures.

Dr Schaper warned that some of the weight loss products or schemes offered by scammers can have very serious consequences for your health.

"Be very careful about advertised offers for medicines, supplements or other treatments and always check first with a health care professional such as a dietitian or your local GP," he said.

"Remember that there are no magic pills for rapid weight loss so be very sceptical about claims of effortless, large or fast weight loss."

The ACCC received 173 contacts about weight loss scams last year - a 50% increase on the previous year.


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