Following a New Year’s announcement of new actions to crack down on fraudulent and pervasive weight-loss scams, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is asking Missourians to weigh in with their personal experiences with deceptive advertising of fake weight-loss products, as she lays the groundwork for a Senate hearing into the issue.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s top consumer protection agency, announced $34 million in settlements against marketers of fraudulent weight-loss products who deceived consumers with baseless claims for products that include food additives, skin creams, and dietary supplements. Additionally, the FTC issued updated guidance for publishers and broadcasters on how to spot phony weight-loss claims when screening ads for publication.
McCaskill applauded the new guidelines and enforcement actions by the FTC, but said she is certain there is more to be done.
“It’s a good thing that action is being taken against these scam artists, but I refuse to believe these fraudsters are the only ones out there” said McCaskill, Chairman of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee. “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that’s why I’m calling on folks across Missouri to tell me their personal experiences with these types of scams, so we can raise the curtain on these deceptive practices, and rein them in. Losing weight and improving our health is tough enough as it is, and the last thing consumers need is a dead-end product that delays their goal of a healthier, more fulfilling life.”
To report weight-loss scams, Missourians can use the ‘Submit Your Scam’ tool at www.McCaskill.senate.gov, which
allows constituents to submit personal stories and tips to help McCaskill crack down on scams and protect consumers.
McCaskill is also calling on publishers and broadcasters to quickly implement the FTC’s new guidelines for spotting false weight-loss claims in advertising. By adhering to these new rules, media outlets will be able to protect their reputations and prevent harming their customers by running claims known to be false.
After collecting Missourians’ first-hand accounts about weight-loss scams, McCaskill plans to lead a Senate hearing during the first half of 2014 to shine light on the widespread deception being aimed at consumers by marketers of weight-loss products and to determine what more can be done to protect consumers from these abuses.