This kind of healthy remedy can kill you.

Browsing the shelves, you’ll find supplements promising to make you thinner, improve your memory or alleviate that nagging joint pain. Never could you possibly imagine a better use for your $40. A mere pittance, you’ll likely think, in exchange for ridding yourself of the one indisposition that separates your life from that of whichever Kardashian happens to match your age range.  

Think again.  

Because while you may be willing to risk that amount of money in exchange for physical or mental improvement, remember this: duh, of course you are, every potential scammer knows it. That’s why among the well-meaning manufactures, there are swindlers who’ve manage to creep into the supplement market. The best of them simply mislead us but others have been caught adding dangerous ingredients not listed on the label. So you can be offended by not only the false advertising but also – in an effort to pocket that pittance of yours — the complete disregard for your life and the lives of the people who have become kinda accustomed to you making them breakfast and nagging them about homework.  

A little over a year ago, SmartLipo365 was recalled because it contained among other hazardous substances, “phenolphthalenin,” which had been long banned for the potential to cause a deadly piercing of the stomach and

Brett Graff is THE HOME ECONOMIST, reporting on the economic forces affecting real people.

cancer plus for its interacting with other medications in “life-threatening ways” (the FDA’s words, not mine.) You wouldn’t be able to make your own decision by reading the ingredients because – ooops – neither this one or two other banned included substances were listed on packages. 

Meanwhile, CogniPrin touted on infomercials designed to sound like educational talk shows that it would reverse mental decline by 12 years, improve memory by 44 percent and in as little as three weeks. FlexiPrin – made by the same company – promised to reduce joint pain, inflammation and stiffness in just two hours, rebuild cartilage, and reduce the need for medication. 

Lies, lies, lies. Turns out, those promises deceptive and made without any scientific proof, says the FTC. Plus, the 90-day money back guarantee was actually 14 days and contained steps so burdensome they should have been disclosed, according to the government. Oh, and the people who gave their heartfelt testimonials? Paid people who would have likely said anything.  

Supplements, you see, are not regulated by the FDA for safety or for effectiveness. It’s hard to imagine what else might go into a pill’s oversight if not for whether it’s safe or effective. However the government will pull a pill from shelves after the company’s been caught lying. Of course, that means someone, but more likely lots of people, will have to first get ripped off or roughed up.  

Don’t let it be you. Here are your red flags to a rip off:    

Claims that the product cures a wide variety of health problems. If it really has been proven to treat rheumatism, arthritis, infections, prostate problems, and hardening of the arteries, it’s not going to be sold in a pharmacy or health food store, it’s going to be horded by governments and human rights groups and shipped to third-world countries.  

Claims that are too good to be true. You have to eat less or exercise more to lose weight. No supplement can supersede biology.   

Claims the product can treat or cure diseases. It “Shrinks tumors” or “Cures impotency?” No. The medical professional who discovers the real cure for any of those afflictions is going to make a killing in the major pharmaceutical market, not quietly sell her findings in a health food store. 

Words like scientific breakthrough, miraculous cure, exclusive product, secret ingredient, or ancient remedy. It’s a “A revolutionary innovation formulated by using proven principles of natural health-based medical science?” That barely makes sense. 

Misleading use of scientific-sounding terms. Phrases such as, “Molecule multiplicity,” “glucose metabolism,” “thermogenesis,” or “insulin receptor sites” are designed to distract you.  

Phony references to Nobel Prize winning technology or science. “Nobel Prize Winning Technology,” is a trick.   

Promises of no-risk “money-back guarantees. When they say “If after 30 days you have not lost at least 4 pounds each week, your uncashed check will be returned to you,” what they mean is that you will have to dedicate the next 30 days into jumping through impossible and continuously moving hoops to meet the demands for the refund but hey, thanks to stress and frustration, you might just loose that weight after all. 

Undocumented testimonials by patients or doctors claiming miraculous results. If you read: “My husband has Alzheimer’s disease. He began eating a teaspoonful of this product each day. And now, in just 22 days, he mowed the grass,” know that the wife has probably been paid, doesn’t exist, or perhaps also has a mental condition involving hallucinations. Regardless, her claim is likely fake.  

Limited availability and a need to pay in advance. “Hurry. This offer will not last. Send us a check now to reserve your supply,” just screams “scam.”  

Chicken fingers with salmonella? Snack cakes baked with metal pieces? Brett Graff reports all major recalls on social media, follow her on Twitter on Facebook  or on Instagram.