LOS ANGELES — When the sunshine is shining, Californias tanning salons can’t pay for it.
But the problem isn’t limited to California.
There’s an even bigger problem with the tanning industry in general: tanning is a scam, and people are falling for it, according to experts.
In the past five years, California has experienced the biggest increase in tanning scams in the country, according a new study from the University of California, Davis.
The study, released this week, found that Californias most common scams are in the luxury goods industry, health care, and even cosmetics, but also in cosmetics and personal care.
It found that about 10 percent of tanning scam victims reported having been defrauded in the past year.
The number of scams that were not classified as scam was much higher, at more than 20 percent.
“People don’t understand that you don’t have to be a doctor to get a tan,” said Kimberly Smith, a registered dietitian and director of health and wellness programs at the California Institute for Community Health.
Smith said people don’t realize that tanning can be extremely expensive.
She said people will use an app or send an email and they can buy a tan at a store or online, but they need to buy in bulk, which can cost thousands of dollars.
“That can be a lot of money,” she said.
Smith explained that there are so many products that are advertised that are very expensive, but when you actually use it, the results are less than you think.
“I have two customers that have gotten double the results than they would have gotten if they hadn’t been wearing the products,” she told ABC News.
Smith and her colleagues analyzed the records of nearly 2,500 consumers who submitted claims to California’s Division of Consumer Protection.
They also analyzed the documents of nearly 800 people who bought products that were advertised as being “bronzed,” but were not, or products that appeared to be natural or organic.
The results showed that the majority of scammers were targeting people who are already over the age of 65, and who have a medical condition that could make them more susceptible to tanning.
Smith added that people should be cautious when buying products from tanning retailers, because they can be used to trick people into buying tanning products that can actually harm their health.
“We know that a lot more people have been scammed than the actual scam, so it’s really important to watch out for the scammers,” Smith said.