National Consumer Protection Week kicks off with tips to keep your info safe

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– This is National Consumer Protection Week and the Better Business Bureau wants to help protect you from scams. The Better Business Bureau is putting out a different tip every day.

This week is all about educating you, the consumer. There are some things you can do to keep your personal information safe, but Monday’s focus is on knowing where your information is coming from. Specifically when the information is about weight loss. All you have to do is look around the web or open your email and you will quickly find dozens of companies claiming to be able to burn fat and flatten your tummy.

“We see ads that promise ridiculous amounts of weight loss in a very short period of time,” said Howard Schwartz, spokesman for the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.

If the advertisments look and sound too good to be true, they probably are, according to Schwartz. He says claims can be exaggerated.

“They also use photoshopped pictures,” Schwartz said. “They’ll take before and after on the same day, and they’ll just photoshop or airbrush away some of the weight from the model.”

The B.B.B. actually kicked off Consumer Protection Week Sunday with a look at online safety. Tips like, use secure passwords. That means no birthdays or pet names. Use different passwords for each of your online accounts, and use two step verification where you can’t log in without a code that’s sent to your phone

Today, the bureau is warning about all the pills the claim to make your bad parts smaller and your good parts bigger. Schwartz says if there were a miracle weight loss drug, you wouldn’t hear about it for the first time in a pop-up ad on your computer.

“They’ve also been known to use news organization logos to pretend that they’ve been endorsed by various news organizations, or they’ll set up a fake news site in order to do nothing more than peddle their products,” said Schwartz.

Other tips for the week include properly filing all your paperwork. That way, when you need it for important things like taxes or consumer complaints, you can find it. For documents you don’t need anymore, don’t just throw them away – shred them. Especially if they have anything to do with your taxes or health care. Those documents will be full of important information that an identity thief would love to get. All of these things are about making you smarter with your information and money.

“So we’re teaching these things to people who might not know about it, and once they learn them, they’ll have to worry a lot less about being scammed,” Schwartz said. “It’s a question of understanding how they work.”

Other tips on smart weight loss include:

• Check with a physician before taking any non-prescription weight loss supplement to determine whether it is potentially dangerous or may interfere with medicine for existing medical conditions.
• Ask your doctor whether you are a candidate for a weight loss medical procedure or prescribed medication.
• Be skeptical of products that promise miraculous results in a short time frame.
• Consumers can verify that their health club is properly licensed by visiting elicense.ct.gov, and research a prospective facility at bbb.org, to see what other consumers have to say about their experience with the facility.
• If a health club closes abruptly, consumers holding contracts may be eligible for relief from the Health Club Guaranty Fund.
• Consumers with complaints regarding health clubs are urged to file a complaint with Better Business Bureau and contacting DCP by email at DCP.frauds@ct.gov, or calling 860-713-6100.

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