If you’re shopping online for health products such as dietary supplements, don’t be fooled by various seals and certificates claiming the products have been tested and evaluated.
The claims could be bogus.
The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a settlement with SmartClick Media, a company that sold deceptive “Doctor Trusted” health seals to over 800 websites.
When people clicked on the seal, they were told products were “carefully evaluated by an independent medical doctor,” and the website was making “reasonable science-based health claims.” In reality, the seals were meaningless, according to the FTC. The agency found that two doctors were paid to quickly review the sites, but they didn’t evaluate any of the products for safety or effectiveness.
That wasn’t SmartClick Media’s only deception, the FTC says. The company also misled people by promoting its own site, betterlivingjournal.org, as an independent blog with unbiased advice on health products. But it was really just a bunch of ads for health products in disguise. And SmartClick Media made money from people clicking on or buying from the site.
Don’t rely on a seal or a lifestyle blog alone when making decisions about whether to trust the quality and safety of health products, the FTC advises. Do some research, and ask your doctor before taking dietary supplements that you find online — or in a store.