The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved Remdesivir as the first drug to treat COVID-19. And while they have not finalized the vaccine, consumers are anxiously awaiting a cure. That means scammers are cashing in by luring victims with phony remedies and treatments. Better Business Bureau warns consumers to watch out for fake medicines 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 that promote prevention or a “cure” for the virus. These are typically found on social media sites, unsolicited emails, or discovered on bogus medical websites that appear to be legitimate. The message or website contains claims of a proven product, including convincing testimonials. It 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 approval of other COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, or products should sell online or in stores. The Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to several companies to claim their teas, essential oils, and various products to treat or even prevent coronavirus.
“To keep from falling victim to this or any 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 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 discuss with a family member, friend, or health professional.
Question personal testimonials and “miracle” products
Be cautious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases, especially COVID-19 immediately. 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 right 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 they design 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 they tempt you 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 information on how to be a smart consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or notify it via BBB ScamTracker.
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 details. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.