Enter the federal Competition Bureau’s Project False Hope. The campaign uses the Competition Act to stamp out fraudsters who make bogus online claims about their “miracle” cancer treatments. “We see this as, potentially, a very vulnerable consumer group,” says Brent Homan, the Competition Bureau’s assistant deputy commissioner of competition. “This is a consumer group that may be looking for some kind of option and are very desperate to find that.”
So far, Homan says Project False Hope has contacted more than 100 problematic Canadian websites and instructed them to remove bogus claims, or face prosecution. Despite this, the Internet remains a haven for people looking to make a buck by selling the latest “curing” elixir. Homan has this advice for consumers who are looking for cancer information or products online:
- Be skeptical.
- Always speak to a health-care professional before trying new treatment.
- Know that “natural” doesn’t always mean a product is effective or safe.
- Look for independent and credible information. Double-check the sources of any tests or clinical studies referenced in a claim.
- Know that a money-back guarantee is no proof that a product or service actually works.
- Beware of customer testimonials. There is no guarantee that these people achieved any of the results, or that that these people even exist.
Unfortunately, there is still no miracle cure for cancer and any website advertising one should be reported to the Competition Bureau: 1-800-348-5358.