Friday, March 21, 2014

What's Worse Than Spam?

I once wrote a blog post about how much I hate spam. Well, there is something else I really hate even more than spam. Can look a bit like spam, even sounds like spam....but it is worse than spam.




The internet must be like a playground to scammers. Some of them are very clever. They do their research, find the right audience and find a weak point. Then they prey...

People with illnesses and disabilities are often that target audience. We have a weak point....we don't want to be ill or have a disability. We want a cure, we want to get better, we will try almost anything. So the scammers throw us a line and reel us in.

Whether they try to sell us supplements with amazing claims that they will cure nerve pain, or some new fangled machine which will do wonders for our painful bodies, they shout out one word : SCAM

Their websites normally have testimonials written by "clients"......in actual fact, those testimonials are often made up by the company.

When we started our Trigeminal Neuralgia awareness page, a young woman came onto the page and said she used a certain (very expensive) supplement and her TN was cured. She claimed to have lots of friends with TN, and they used the supplement too, and they were all cured. Amazing! Truth was that she didn't even know what Trigeminal Neuralgia was, and she knew nobody with the condition. She eventually admitted to me that the testimonials on the website were all fake. Every single one. She was trying to make some extra money by generating business. She came to the wrong awareness page that day.

I am not suggesting that all supplements are made by companies who prey on vulnerable people. Some supplements are good, and some may help things like nerve pain. But, people should check the company out, and ask doctors or pharmacists if they are safe to take, especially when taking other meds. Some herbal supplements can interfere with many meds, so it is always best to be safe.

Something else I came across this week is a clinic using laser therapy. Their website claims that their laser therapy will cure Trigeminal Neuralgia.

  • Proof that their therapy can cure TN is in the testimonials. (Yes, the testimonials which they have possibly made up)
  • They claim their laser is ten times stronger than an other laser. (I'm not sure if this is good or bad)
  • If you have medical insurance, it will not cover laser treatment.
  • If you want to know how much this laser therapy costs, they will not tell you until you have a consultation.
  • They say that you will normally have two thirty minute treatments per day possibly over three weeks. (Surely they should be able to give a price if it is a set length of time for a session)
  • They say it is a cure for TN, yet they say that if it does not work the first time, you can have another round of treatments for half price. (That would be if you have any money left after the first round of treatments)
  • Oh, and you can enjoy the area and stay in a lovely hotel while you are there. (The hotels in the area must love this clinic)

I have seen people ask about this laser therapy....people with TN see that word CURE and think it could change their lives. TN isn't just about pain, it can ruin people's lives. They become desperate for a cure. They use their savings, take out loans, sell their possessions.....they would pay anything for a cure.

Except, this doesn't seem to be curing those people. People have lost thousands of dollars, pinning their hopes on being pain free, but after the treatment, they have the same pain (sometimes worse), and empty bank books.

I don't know enough about laser therapy to know whether or not it can actually help anyone. It may help some people. My husband told me last night that someone he knows had accidentally left his laser torch switch on. It burnt a hole in the wooden table. So I don't think I would like to try laser therapy, especially with the knowledge that their laser is ten times stronger than any other.

I know that there are no real cures out there for Trigeminal Neuralgia. The Facial Pain Research Foundation is trying to find a cure, and we can rest assured that when they do, it will go through the correct channels of being tested etc before it reaches us.

I really hate knowing that people are out their trying to take advantage of people who live with illness and disabilities. Scammers are the lowest of the low, they prey on vulnerable people. They give people hope, they take their money, but they do not cure people.

When we see the word "cure" on an advert or website, we all need to be very cautious. Ask questions, ask doctors, look out for one another.....we need to ensure that people are not taken in by those false claims.