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What To Know About The Keto Diet Scam Targeting Seniors

Dieting scams are on the rise amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and one online scam in particular is targeting older adults.

Wanting to have optimum health is something we all strive for, especially as we get older and look for strategies and remedies to elongate our lifespan. It seems like every other day we hear about a new diet fad or superfood taking over the market. 

But before you sign up for dietary supplements or commit to a new health plan make sure you do your research, double check that what you’re signing up for is legitimate, and talk to your doctor or a nutritionist. Why? Because many companies selling dietary or nutritional supplements are not only bogus, but use advertising schemes with the goal of targeting seniors to scam them out of money. The latest scam? The Keto diet supplement scam. 

Here’s what you should know:

Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that was initially created a century ago to help people suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy. Though the annual U.S. News and World Report ranked this exceedingly popular diet as one of the worst possible diets to follow for years, many people continue to follow this trendy diet for its short-term health benefits, without considering possible long-term risks. 

Jumping on the bandwagon of the Keto diet’s popularity, manufacturers began touting Keto diet supplements, claiming its pills would help people lose weight faster than if they just adhered to the dietary rules and restrictions of Keto. Most people aren’t aware dietary supplements aren’t reviewed by the government, meaning that those supplements often don’t deliver the health benefits they advertise.

As more people focus on health and working out during the Covid-19 pandemic, yet aren’t able to attend regular exercise classes, weight-loss scams have become more common and research shows an uptick in targeting seniors through pop-up ads.

According to AARP, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been warning against diet scams for years.

In 2014, the agency reported, “The reality: The company can’t support — or deliver on — those weight-loss claims. If you give your credit or debit account number, you get charged $60 to $210 every month — and it’s almost impossible to get a refund. On top of that, you get enrolled in offers you didn’t ask for — with more monthly charges.” 

Basically, once a scammer has you signed up for their supplements and locked into their system with your financial information, it can be difficult to unsubscribe, get a refund, or stop them from continuing to charge your account.

Officials at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warn that dietary supplements do not require approval before they are marketed and ask consumers to be on the look out for these top warning signs:

  • Promises of a quick fix, for example, “lose 10 pounds in one week.”
  • Use of the words “guaranteed” or “scientific breakthrough.”
  • Products marketed through mass emails or in a foreign language.
  • Products marketed as herbal alternatives to an FDA-approved drug, or as having effects similar to prescription drugs.

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