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
- 6 Tip-offs to Rip-offs: Don't Fall for Health Fraud Scams (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- How to Spot Health Fraud (Food and Drug Administration)
- Miracle Health Claims (Federal Trade Commission) Also in Spanish
- Beware of Fraudulent 'Dietary Supplements' (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Beware of Illegally Marketed Diabetes Treatments (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Beware of Products Promising Miracle Weight Loss (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Cancer Treatment Scams (Federal Trade Commission) Also in Spanish
- Danger: Don't Drink Miracle Mineral Solution or Similar Products (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Products Claiming to "Cure" Cancer Are a Cruel Deception (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
Videos and Tutorials
- Anatomy of a Cancer Treatment Scam (Federal Trade Commission)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Participant carelessness and fraud: Consequences for clinical research and potential solutions.
- Article: Informing, simulating experience, or both: A field experiment on phishing risks.
- Article: Does prior knowledge of food fraud affect consumer behavior? Evidence from...
- Health Fraud -- see more articles