Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards Service is urging consumers to be wary of New Year’s diet and wellbeing scams, as many people resolve to improve their health or lose weight at this time of year.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of scams relating to health, wellbeing and dietary supplements.
“New Year is a time when many people resolve to become healthier, and scammers exploit this. Social media is great for sharing your get-fit journey, but it can be an unreliable source of health advice. People should always get that from dependable sources such as the NHS.”
The team at Staffordshire Trading Standards are warning people to avoid non-prescribed slimming pills, which can contain harmful chemicals. As well as posing risks to health, these products are also commonly linked with subscription traps in which consumers can find themselves unwittingly signing up to make continuous payments to scammers.
Consumers are advised to always check the small print and contact their bank immediately if they believe they have been signed up without their permission.
Dieting and wellness supplements are sometimes accompanied by bogus or misleading claims, and such products are tightly regulated to protect consumers. Claims about the rate of weight loss are not allowed, as are claims suggesting boosted immunity, fat-burning properties and ‘detoxification’.