7 On Your Side: 'Miracle' weight loss scams can slim down your wallet

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The biggest complaint to the Federal Trade Commission involves mass market consumer fraud from overstated weight loss ads, supplements and products.

More than 6.5 million people reported getting fleeced trying to slim down.

When you're scrolling through social media sites, it feels like there' s a million miracle weight loss fads all over your feed. So how can you tell what's real and what's fake?

There's everything from belts and creams, to potions and detox foot patches. Even weight loss earrings can be found.

But be careful. Some products may contain ingredients harmful to your health.

RED FLAG: "Free" Trial Offers with Strings Attached.

The Better Business Bureau says the first red flag are free trial offers that are not free at all but can often mislead you into a monthly subscription.

"The fine print might say you have a limited time to cancel, but next thing you know, your credit card is being charged every month," New York bureau President Claire Rosenzweig said.

RED FLAG: Heralding of "miracle" or immediate results.

"If you see in the ad that your pounds will melt away without doing anything, like a miracle, don't believe it," Rosenzweig said. "It's just not going to happen."

RED FLAG: Reviews that just don't ring true.

Beware of fake reviews, including ones like, "This is amazing" or "The best product ever bought."

Small business adviser and CEO of The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, says many reviews are fake and are penned by professionals who are paid to buy the product and give it five stars.

So be wary of calls to action like "get yours now" or "Buy now."

Also, don't be fooled by celebrity endorsements.

Celebrities like those on "Shark Tank" started biting back at weight loss products who used their names and images to get people to sign up -- products they have nothing to do with.

The Big Takeaway:

Consult a doctor or nutritionist for healthy and safe ways to lose weight.

Research the company first. They may have an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. Here's a link to the bureau's scam tracker.

If you think you've been scammed, ask for a refund through your credit card company and report it to the FTC.

Here's a helpful video on how to watch out for free trial offers.

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