Posts Tagged ‘scams’

‘Be wary,’ say seniors in Joliet

Watching network TV for an evening is a blur of commercials, many of them health related. Each remedy promises easy solutions to a host of ailments. It’s easy to understand the appeal of these promises, but there is still plenty of truth to the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Today, there are more ways than ever to sell untested products. In addition to TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, infomercials, mail, telemarketing, and even word-of-mouth, these products are now offered over the Internet—with websites describing miracle cures and emails telling stories of overnight magic. Sadly, older people are often the target of such scams.

According to National Institute on Aging, the problem is serious. Untested remedies may be harmful. They may be dangerous when used with medicines prescribed by the doctor, they may waste money, and sometimes, using these products keeps people from getting the medical treatment they need.

Living with a chronic health problem is difficult, so it’s easy to see why people might fall for a false promise of a quick and painless cure. What makes the elderly so vulnerable to this kind of thing? After all, they’re not stupid. They are, however, trusting. They don’t expect crooks to be calling them. They want to take people at their word. They don’t want to appear rude by hanging up on a caller.

According to Associate Content.com Elderly people also tend to worry about their health and the increasing costs of medical care, and this makes them vulnerable to scams offering phony health insurance. In addition, elderly people are embarrassed about falling for such scams and don’t want their children to find out. They may fear that their children will think they are no longer competent to care for themselves and may worry about losing their independence.

Typically, ads or telemarketing calls target diseases that have no cures like diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Beware:

  • Cancer cures
  • Anti-aging medications
  • Arthritis remedies
  • Memory aids
  • Dietary supplements
  • Health insurance

Question what you see or hear in ads, telephone calls, or on the internet. Find out about a product before you buy. Don’t let a salesperson talk you into making a snap decision. Most important, check with your doctor first.

Look for red flags in ads or promotional material that:

  • Promise a quick or painless cure
  • Claim the product is made from a special, secret, or ancient formula
  • Offer products and services only by mail
  • Use statements or unproven case histories from so-called satisfied patients
  • Claim to be a cure for a wide range of ailments
  • Claim to cure a disease (such as arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease) that hasn’t been cured by medical science
  • Promise a no-risk, money-back guarantee
  • Offer an additional “free” gift or a larger amount of the product as a “special promotion”
  • Require advance payment and claim there is a limited supply of the product

Two Federal government agencies work to protect people from health scams. The Federal Trade Commission can help you spot fraud. The Food and Drug Administration protects the public by assuring the safety of prescription drugs, biological products, medical devices, food, cosmetics, and radiation-emitting products. If you have questions about a product, again talk to your doctor.

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