With a new year comes plenty of people dedicating themselves to healthier lifestyles and losing weight. The Better Business Bureau says this is a great opportunity for scammers.

I'm sure you've seen ads on social media promoting supplements that will lead to quick and easy weight loss or other health benefits.  They may even come with a lot of positive reviews and impressive testimonials on how well the products work.

Of course, the issue with this is that everyone who has lost weight knows that there isn't an effective shortcut.  Healthier eating and exercise will always work, but they take time, patience and dedication.  Those who fall for the get healthy quick scams are left without the results they dreamed of while also losing money.

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The Better Business Bureau offers these tips top avoid being scammed:

  • Always be wary of advertisements and customer endorsements promising “miracle” results or immediate weight loss. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, evidence suggests gradual loss of 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy goal and is more successful for achieving long-term weight loss. Ask your doctor what an achievable weight loss goal for you would be.
  • Determine your fitness goals. It’s hard work to lose weight. Find a program you can stick with, preferably one that you enjoy. Does a weight loss plan require special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn’t meet your needs or is more expensive than anticipated?
  • Avoid products that claim to help lose weight without diet or exercise. Be especially skeptical of claims that you don’t have to give up favorite foods or reduce the amount you consume. Doctors, dieticians and other experts agree that losing weight takes work. Pass up any product that promises miraculous results without any effort.
  • Check a product’s ingredients with the FDA. Be suspicious of taking special pills, powders or herbs. Some products have been recalled for containing ingredients with potentially dangerous effects. Check the list of public notifications from the FDA regarding potentially harmful weight loss products. 
  • Read all terms and conditions for any weight loss product. Before clicking check out or purchase, make sure the cart only includes the items you wish to purchase, and does not include signing up for a subscription, unless this is an option want.​
  • Be cautious of any contract that takes payment from your credit card until you cancel.
  • When participating in online forums and chat rooms focused on weight loss and fitness topics, be wary of individuals pushing products they claim will help quickly reach goals.
  • Research the company with BBB.org before purchasing. Read reviews about the company to see if there are any complaints alleging that it’s a scam.
  • Be wary of free trial offers, and before signing up, understand all the terms and conditions.These deals can become “subscription traps” that hook consumers into expensive shipments of products they did not agree to buy.

It can be easy to fall for health scams as the desire is so strong for quick results, but they just aren't possible in the way these ads promise.

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