The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved Remdesivir as the first drug to treat COVID-19. And while a vaccine has not yet been finalized, consumers are anxiously awaiting a cure. Ant that means scammers are cashing in by luring victims with phony remedies and treatments. Better Business Bureau warns consumers to watch out for fake cures and prevention measures that could trick you into falling for a coronavirus scam.
How the Scam Works
A quick search on the internet reveals ads which promote prevention or a “cure” for the virus. These are typically found on social media sites, unsolicited emails, or discovered on bogus medical websites which appear to be legitimate. The message or website contains claims of a proven product, including convincing testimonials. This prompts the consumer to anxiously take out their credit card and fall for the scheme.
Remdesivir is currently the only approved treatment for coronavirus, meaning no other COVID-19 vaccine, drug or product has been approved to sell online or in stores. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to several companies for claiming their teas, essential oils and various products can treat or even prevent coronavirus.
“To keep from falling victim to this or any type of scam,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas said. “It’s important to remember that a common tactic scam artists use is to prey on the fears and emotions of their victims.”
Avoid becoming a victim to a coronavirus con by following these tips:
Don’t be pressured to act immediately. Scammers typically make you think something is scarce. They want to push you into action before you have time to think or to discuss with a family member, friend or health professional.
Question personal testimonials and “miracle” products. Be cautious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases, especially COVID-19. The only known approved product is solely available and administered in a hospital or a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care, like Remdesivir.
Read into claims of products that are “all natural.” Just because it’s natural or homeopathic does not mean it’s good for you. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.
Don’t click on links or open attachments. Unsolicited email links or links on ads can download malware onto your computer which are designed to retrieve information and compromise your identity.
Connect with caution. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, as these networks are not secure. If you ever enter financial or credit card information, be sure that the website is security enabled (https).
Consult your doctor. If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.
Read more about coronavirus scams and report any fraudulent activity on BBB’s Scam Tracker. Be up to date with disease news and safety guidelines by visiting the Center for Disease Control’s FAQ page.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.
About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.