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The Pure Vermont Newsletter
     By the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program                                      MAY 2013

Snake Oils in 2013

During construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, workers would often buy, or more accurately be tricked into buying, treatments and medicine made from “snake oil”. These supposed “cures” came with a long list of benefits, none of which were fruitful. Often these bottles were filled with a dangerous blend of miscellaneous liquids.

The industry of selling intentionally mislabeled products is alive and well. Today they carry titles like “weight loss solution” or “dietary supplement”. This has become a concern for various agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who believe such claims pose serious safety concerns.

Snake Oil Bottle

One cause for concern, according to the FDA, is that some of the tested supplements contain a compound called sibutramine. This product was ordered to be removed from shelves in 2010 due to “[an] increase in the risk of serious heart events”. The FDA considers all products that include this component “tainted” and urges against usage.

In addition to dangerous compounds, there are some products which just have no effects. The FDA warns against using products that advertise with phrases like “lose 10 pounds in one week” or “scientific breakthrough” to describe their product. Other warnings are products that claim to have been “tested” or are “big sellers” in foreign markets, but have no domestic credentials.

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Warning of Unlawful Robocalls Offering Free Alarm Systems

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office is warning Vermont consumers of a robocall scam that claims call recipients will receive a free alarm system.  Unsolicited sales calls, including prerecorded messages known as robocalls, are illegal under federal Telemarketing law.  

~  Attorney General William Sorrell

Those who respond to this scam receive a follow-up call from a live person, claiming that their alert system has been ordered and they must provide their address and billing information.  Though the messages warn “life alert” and “medical alert,” the calls do not appear to be affiliated with any legitimate business.  The goal of the scam is to collect personal information to commit identity theft and build lists that will later be sold to other scammers.  The scammers may also possibly use consumer information to bill for unwanted products or services in the future.   

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CyBer Security Workshop May 6th

Junk Faxes



Tax Scams Continue to Strike

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams WEbsite

      More consumers >>

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220 New Complaints

Banking/Credit - Collection Harassment

Automobiles - Defective Merchandise

Scams - Unsolicited

Home Furnishings - Failure to Deliver

Scams - Misrepresentation

Direct Marketing - Unsolicited

Automobiles - Defective Merchandise

Banking/Credit - 
Collection Harassment


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