The start of the year is a great time to start working on new goals and create healthy habits. A common goal found in many new year's resolutions is to become healthier by exercising more, losing weight, eating better, or even quit smoking. While this is an essential part of one's wellbeing, getting there shouldn't put your personal or financial information at risk. Almost 10% of all gym membership sales are made in January every year, and while most of these are legitimate businesses, some are looking to take advantage and make a quick profit. Likewise, online searches for health supplements, weight-loss products, smoking cessation programs, and exercise equipment skyrocket during the first two weeks of the year. Scammers are well prepared to take advantage of this excitement and motivation for their benefit. It's essential to take time to do research and make sure the product or services we are looking to purchase are legitimate to avoid financial loss or, worse, detrimental effects on our health.
One habit you need to incorporate into your daily routine this year is safety. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office wants to help you make smart decisions. We encourage you to use these tips to help guide your decision making:
- Practice patience while doing research and looking at gym contracts. Always read the fine print and ask about cancellation procedures before signing any documents.
- Beware of products or services offering free trials. You may be signing on to a yearlong membership without knowing it!
- Do your research on products with too-good-to-be-true claims, including those that boost quick health improvements or weight-loss, help with a wide range of issues, or are not approved by the FDA.
- Avoid products or services that ask for upfront payment or cash, gift cards, or wire transfers. For a safer method of payment, use a credit card. It will allow you to contest the charge if the product or service is not what it claims to be.
Everyone is vulnerable to scams and fraudulent products, but we can all take easy steps in avoiding them. Help prevent scams or fraud by sharing this information with your friends and family.
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