As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the world, fraudsters are preying on the fears of consumers everywhere. Misinformation is spreading like wildfire, and misbranded or unapproved products claiming to have curative effects or to prevent COVID-19 have mushroomed overnight.
Despite their earnest hopes, consumers who pay for these bogus products won’t get their money’s worth.
Homeopathy, colloidal silver and toothpaste
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Scammers are promoting treatments for the novel Coronavirus ranging from silver-laced hand soaps to toothpaste and essential oil products. These resellers are eager to make a quick buck by setting up Facebook pages and websites claiming to treat or prevent the disease.
Healthcare officials are warning consumers not to fall victim to their shenanigans. FTC and FDA have already taken action against these fraudulent resellers, and urge customers to file complaints about any suspicious products or ads they receive.
Cyber criminals routinely latch onto current events, so they have quickly weaponized the Coronavirus outbreak to deploy more than simply malware attacks. They’re piggybacking on the wave of misinformation and setting up fake websites of their own that advertise miracle drugs and offer prevention tips.
They can use fake emails, social media posts or even SMS texts in their hoaxes to trick you into providing personal identifiable information and money.
Be on the lookout
The easiest way to avoid falling victim to fraud during the Coronavirus outbreak is by using common sense and making sure that you adopt healthy browsing practices. Most importantly, keep an eye out for:
- Suspicious links from unfamiliar sources
- Emails claiming to come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) promoting cures or pseudo-drugs that treat or prevent the virus
- Ignore and report any false advertisement you see on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
Remember, your safety always comes first. Don’t let your guard down and be proactive when it comes to your online activity and search patterns. Make sure you also promote good online practices to your friends and family, and do your virus-related research diligently on trustworthy websites.