Health scams often target older people

Health scams are common so one must be prepared not to fall for them. Learn the warning signs!

Have you ever opened a magazine and seen an ad for a lotion that will take years off your age? Or have you ever turned on the TV and seen the paid programming ad for the revolutionary bracelets that cure arthritis? As one ages the body begins to change in ways we sometimes do not like. Scammers know this so they target people of older age. Because of this it is important to be aware and ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true. Health scams can waste money, raise false hope, and at its worst, be dangerous to the person who uses the product. Often these scams target diseases that cannot be cured.

Health scams come in many forms. A few examples of scams include the offering of anti-aging medications or arthritis remedies. Both of these claims are difficult to disprove because aging is a progression and changes take time. Some symptoms may come and go. You may believe it was the product that made you feel better.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Americans spend billions of dollars on dietary supplements. Most supplements do not undergo government testing before being placed on the market. The best way to age well is to eat healthy foods, exercise on a regular basis and don't smoke. Before using any health related product it is best to discuss it with your doctor to make sure it is not harmful or interfering with your current medications or treatment.

The National Institutes of Health recommends watching for warning signs in the health related claims. The following is a list of warning signs:

  • Promises a quick or painless cure
  • Claims the product is made from a special, secret or ancient formula
  • Offers products and services only by mail or from the one company
  • Claims to cure a disease that hasn't been cured yet
  • Promises a no-risk, money-back guarantee
  • Offers an additional free gift or larger amount of the product for a special promotion
  • Uses statements or unproven case histories from satisfied patients

Michigan State University Extension provides research based information and educational classes on health related issues.

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