FTC Fights Sham Weight Loss Ads

No matter how much consumers are warned, no matter how many weight loss companies get sued -- 100 in the past decade -- there are still more fraudulent ads than ever. Ads seducing overweight Americans with the impossible dream of eating more and yet losing weight.

Ads like this: Stop Dreaming and Start Eating!

Once relegated to the back pages of seedy magazines, today's outrageous ads are reaching millions through the mainstream media.

"It is difficult not to heed the siren call of achievement without effort, especially when the advertising goes to great lengths to tell us that the products are scientific breakthroughs, proven to work," Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris told CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

Unable to make much of a dent in a burgeoning problem, the government asked the media to help by turning away ads containing obvious "red flags."

Red flags include promises like shed pounds quickly without diet or exercise; eat your favorite foods and still lose weight; or lose weight by rubbing something on your skin -- or wearing it.

Ads like this: Do you want rock-hard abs without sweating in the gym for hours?

Or this: With Enforma, you can eat what you want and never, ever, ever, ever have to diet again!

Such claims, says the government, are never true.

The government is asking, not telling, the media to help weed out bad ads. So far, it says, the feedback is encouraging.

Meanwhile, the FTC today announced million dollar settlements with two more companies that made empty promises. Despite so many warnings from the government, there are still so many willing customers.