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This hair-raising experience carries a high price

Criminals know how to take advantage of our vulnerabilities, and that’s apparent in the latest product scheme. Call it the hair restoration/hair loss treatment scam.

While there are plenty of legitimate products out there to address this problem, Scam Detector Inc. is warning of “miracle cure” ads that show up under the heading “Sponsored Articles From Around the Web.”

You might see these under an online news article, with a promise that your problem can be fixed with “the help of an ancient or special product,” Scam Detector says.

Watch for these phrases: “Get Your Hair Back Fast,” “Don’t Pay For Hair Transplant Until You See This,” or “Magic Hair Growth Revealed.”

If you click on the provided link, you will be directed to a fake news website that advertises the product and showcases supposed celebrity testimonials.

To make things appear more on the up-and-up, the fake website is geo-tagged so that the name of your city shows up as part of the pitch, according to Scam Detector.

How much does the miracle cure cost? The ad promises you will only have to pay $3.79 in shipping to try it. However, your next credit card statement will also show a “membership charge” of $150, Scam Detector says.

People who have been duped and call the company to dispute the charge are told “it’s impossible to cancel due to the wording in the fine print. … They may also advise you to buy additional products,” Scam Detector says.

When you report it, it’s too late. The company’s gone, you’re out your money and you’re still losing your hair.

Protect yourself by pitches that offer miracle or fast solutions — no matter how legitimate they look. Google any companies or products that make these promises and look for independent reviews. Also try typing in the name with the word “scam.”

More sobering are scams involving bogus cures for very serious diseases.

For example, the Federal Trade Commission announced this month that it has sued the sellers of a product called “Nobetes,” a pill that claims to treat diabetes. Further, Nobetes Corp. is accused of telling patients the product could reduce or eliminate the need for life-saving medication like insulin, the FTC complaint said.

A proposed settlement of the case would ban the corporation and two of its officers from selling Nobetes and other diabetic products.

The FTC suggests talking with a health care provider before using any type of non-prescription product that makes amazing claims about a cure for diabetes, high blood pressure or other serious health conditions.

Other unsubstantiated claims promise the product is “turning back the clock on aging with an all-natural pill,” or “losing weight fast without diet or exercise with a powder, pill or shake,” the FTC says.

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The Netflix scam appears to be back, and it’s got a weird little twist: The email starts out by saying, “Hi, dear.”

Unless you are on extremely friendly terms with Netflix, this is your first dead give-away that you are looking at a classic phishing scheme.

What follows is an otherwise realistic-looking email with the familiar Netflix logo, telling you your account is on hold because the company is “having some trouble with your current billing information.” The sender tells the customer to click on the link provided to update the payment method.

The FTC advises that if you have any concerns as to whether this might be legitimate, you should contact Netflix directly with contact information you get independently — and not by relying on this bogus email.

Ellen Marks is assistant business editor at the Albuquerque Journal. Contact her at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210​.

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