Council chiefs in St Helens says a number of residents have been taken in by scam internet businesses offering free diet products.
Victims are asked to provide their bank details think the company will take around £5 for postage and packaging.
But when they check their accounts they find they have been fleeced for up to £100.
When the customers tries to contact the business, they receive no response no response or are pointed to terms and conditions they unwittingly agreed which authorised the payments.
Trading standards officers in St Helens are have received a number of complaints from residents who have fallen victims to the scam.
Officials also have concerns about the legality of the products and its efficacy.
A trading standards spokesman said: “Residents need to be cautious when buying diet pills, many of these products are worthless as they will not aid weight loss and may make you ill.
“Many of the websites concerned suggest that they have recommendations for leading women’s magazines, so they look like they are the real deal.
“Make sure you trawl through the website to identify the terms and conditions of the ‘free’ offer, read the small print and don’t provide your bank details unless you are completely sure what you are signing up to.
“Be extra cautious if the business does not provide the name and address.”
of the owners and their address in the UK.”
There is no magic formula for losing weight and most doctors would advise you never to take any diet pills and just to eat more healthily and exercise more.
“Basically you never know what is in these pills and what harm they could do.”
Trading Standards advise that anyone who has money taken from their account
in this way should contact their bank immediately. They should also report
the matter to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
For further information please contact the council’s press and public
relations team, Chris Cahill (Press and PR Manager) 01744 676166 or Nick
Cook (Press and PR Officer) 01744 676165.