Health fraud involves selling drugs, devices, foods, or cosmetics that have not been proven effective. Keep in mind - if it sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam. At best, these scams don't work. At worst, they're dangerous. They also waste money, and they might keep you from getting the treatment you really need.
Health fraud scams can be found everywhere, promising help for many common health issues, including weight loss, memory loss, sexual performance, and joint pain. They target people with serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, Alzheimer's, and many more.
To protect yourself, recognize the red flags such as:
- Miracle cure
- Quick fix
- Ancient remedy
- Secret ingredient
- Scientific breakthrough
Before taking an unproven or little known treatment, talk to a doctor or health care professional - especially when taking prescription drugs.
Food and Drug Administration
- Beware Unregulated Stem Cell Treatments, Experts Warn (09/11/2015, HealthDay)
- Buying Prescription Medicine Online: A Consumer Safety Guide (Food and Drug Administration)
- Beware of Fraudulent 'Dietary Supplements' (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Beware of Illegally Sold Diabetes Treatments (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Beware of Online Cancer Fraud (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Beware of Products Promising Miracle Weight Loss (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Cancer Treatment Scams (Federal Trade Commission) Available in Spanish
- Anatomy of a Cancer Treatment Scam (Federal Trade Commission)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Fraud Target: Senior Citizens (Federal Bureau of Investigation)