As a young boy with roots in rural Wisconsin, I went to county and state fairs during the late summer seasons. There always were hawkers offering a special potion, elixir or salve to cure all ailments.

Have times changed?

When I checked my email recently, I saw the headline “4 Weird Signs You Could Live Past 100.” I was attracted. After all, I have written 170 of these columns for Senior Life on the challenges we face as seniors. I read the introduction to a book “Secrets of Endless Youth” and then watched a video. Life-saving secrets were revealed.

I traveled to a lost island looking for life extending and life-saving secrets. The presenter, a medical doctor, shared purification of cells, drinking wine made from a special grape, renewal of cells and much more. The natural health ideas were captivating. I could prevent disease and build my immunity.

As the video droned on, I learned more about the Secrets book, another special publication, and how to get a subscription to a monthly newsletter. I enrolled using my credit card to begin with benefits “as low as 10 cents per day.” Yes, it was “Today.” Before I could get a glass of water, I received my enrollment information followed by multiple special reports.

Each day, I received at a minimum two reports related to ailments a senior could experience. When I stopped a new video for lack of interest, I received a follow-up email inquiring if there was a problem and if I would like to play it again.

Apparently, there is a connection to other health care specialists. I began to receive other offers to help me live a long life. I could not believe the numerous sources with many pills and health solutions. As fast as I pressed unsubscribe, there was another resource.

When I had an appointment with my physician, I asked about some of these resources. His advice: “Check their credentials, evaluate and determine trust. There are exceptions, miracles, new discoveries and snake oil salesmen. If you decide to buy any of the pills, don’t spend a lot of money.”

Further, check with your pharmacist before taking pills from an unknown supplier that could have harmless side effects when taken with your current prescriptions. Watch out for the snake oil!