Coronavirus Frauds and Scams: What You Need to Know

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues its work protecting consumers, providing guidance to businesses, and protecting competition in the marketplace throughout the pandemic. The FTC has already gotten over 13,000 complaints, over $9.5 million in fraud loss related to Coronavirus.
An educated public can stop a scammer in his tracks.

The Mission of The FTC

The FTC protects consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity. Complaints should be reported to

Health-Related Scams (Treatments & Cures) 

  • Vaccine offers-there is currently no vaccine for Coronavirus.
  • Test kit offers-test kits are not available for the public to buy.
  • Miracle cures and Medicare-related offers-at this time, no cure has been found. 

Any legitimate development will show up on legitimate websites (CDC, WHO, NIH, hospitals, etc.) and news sources, not in an email, text, door-to-door, snail mailor a tent with suited up folks offering tests for a fee. 

FDA & FTC have already sent warning letters to makers of teas, essential oils and colloidal silver who are claiming these products help prevent Covid-19, there is no evidence to back up any such claims. Warning letters usually stop the scam, if not FDA will intercede, make them pull the product. 

Other Scams (more popping up all the time) 

  • Cleaning Supplies (antiseptic wipes, disposable gloves, masks, etc.) 
  • Social Security 
  • Mortgage Relief Student Loan Debt Relief and Student Loan Debt Relief (MARS Rule states that if you hire someone to help you find a better rate you don’t have to pay them unless you’ve vetted and accepted the offer they find for you. Never pay up front!)
  • Government Stimulus Checks (the government will not ask for any info from you and you do not have to pay to get this money) 
  • Fake Charities (usually will ask you to pay with cash, gift card or money transfer, all untraceable), no legitimate business will ask to be paid with a gift card, research a charity before you give

Government Websites with Coronavirus Information: 

Misinformation & Rumors – Ask These Questions Before Acting: 

  • Who is message from (is it a trusted source)? 
  • What do they want me to do? 
  • What is the evidence behind the message? 

Actions to Take 

Scammers usually operate to create fear or sense of urgency. Don’t click on any links from sources you don’t know-stick with trusted sites. Scammers are looking to get your personal information, your money, or they’re out to install malware on your computer. 

  • Ignore offers of vaccinations and home test kits 
  • Hang up on robocalls 
  • Beware phishing emails and texts 
  • Research before you donate 
  • Stay in the know