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Preying on the vulnerable.

JACQUI Kennedy, head of Birmingham City Council's regulatory services, which runs the Trading Standards team, is warning people about the pitfalls of turning to con artists who claim to be faith healers.

YOU might jump at the opportunity to solve all of your problems by paying for consultations with a faith healer.

But Birmingham Trading Standards officers regularly investigate these incredible claims and often find them to be either false or misleading.

It is easy to be seduced by the offer of a quick fix to resolve our difficulties, whether it be your love life, family disputes, health worries, marriage difficulties, or struggling to keep your business afloat or even just a terrible run of bad luck.

However, experience shows that by turning to a faith healer, consumers are likely to be disappointed by the results and it could be an expensive lesson to learn. Faith healers often advertise their services in all manner of places, and many of these adverts are full of empty promises.

By law, adverts cannot include wild claims, and any advert containing key words such as "help", "solve", "guaranteed", "cure" or "stop", should to be treated with extreme caution and maybe avoided altogether.

They appear to make claims which probably cannot be substantiated.

Legally, adverts cannot claim that a faith healer can take away curses or bad luck, or can cure or physically heal a person.

Also they cannot imply that they can give consumers luck charms that will change their fortunes.

If you consult a healer, ask about any fees to be charged right at the beginning, get details in writing and pull out if they seem too high.

Healers who make false claims could face criminal prosecution, which could result in a fine or a prison sentence.

The best advice is to ask yourself whether the claims made are just too good to be true, before you get involved.

* FOR advice call Citizens Advice Bureau National Advice Line on 0845 4 04 05 06.


Blind faith? Beware con artists out to take advantage of you.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2012
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