MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — News 5 continues our Fraud Fighters segment. We talk about scams and frauds that are out there and how you can fight them. Joining us this morning is Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama. Weight loss can also be tied to losing money if it’s a scam. We talk about what to watch for in weight-loss scams. How do they work?

Guest: Weight loss scams are the number one scam reported to the Federal Trade Commission. About $70 billion is spent on weight-loss products and programs. Obviously when there’s that much money in play scammers want to get their share of it so there are a number of different ways they try to create these crimes. We want people to watch out for ads on social media especially for fake products or products that may have reality TV stars promoting them and they lead to links that may look like real magazine stories or something that looks legitimate. We want people to be aware that those things can be easily faked.

Chad: What are other indicators of weight-loss scams or keywords and indicators people need to look out for.

Guest: Look out for any products or pills or things like that. Products that claim to be “natural” or “herbal” because that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re safe. There are plenty of things that grow in nature that are not safe for us. They could also interact with medications you could be taking for some other health condition so please don’t just assume that anything that’s labeled “natural” is safe for you to consume. The other thing we want people to be aware of is that there are a lot of diet programs that will offer a free trial of maybe two weeks to a month. Then they will automatically start charging your credit card so check the fine print of anything like that before you sign up so you know exactly how and when you can cancel if you decide this just isn’t for you. Also, beware of anything that sounds too good to be true. There’s no diet that will effectively let you eat everything you want and lose weight very quickly. Anything that sounds too good to be true, assume that it probably is. That’s a good rule to live by in general.

Chad: People still want to lose weight and feel better so where people start rather than getting tripped up in a weight loss scam?

Guest: A really good place to start is to talk to your own doctor. Maybe get a referral to a dietician. Somebody that’s credentialed in this area in nutrition and rely on sources you know is very reliable and safe. This is really important. Maybe people have put on pounds during the pandemic we hear a lot of talk of quarantine pounds and that sort of thing so we know with swimsuit season and beach season coming a lot of folks are wanting to lose weight. We want you to do it safely and in a way that won’t harm your health.