Growing fear over the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a rise in scam activity, counterfeit products, price gouging and fake cures.
Consumers worry about the prevalence of fake goods amid the pandemic, and federal authorities confirm they’re seeing more scam activity.
The Federal Trade Commission this week said it’s received more than 7,000 complaints of scams related to coronavirus, with reported losses totaling $4.6 million, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“I don’t think I have ever been as busy as I have been since early February,” Colleen Tressler, a FTC consumer education specialist, told The WSJ.
The FBI also is responding to scams and counterfeits related to the pandemic, from charities and checks to fake personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, reports WCNC, the NBC affiliate in Charlotte.
Consumers might notice phishing emails, calls or text messages with a coronavirus angle. Fake cures or vaccines for COVID-19 — the illness caused by the novel coronavirus — fake test kits and sanitizing products are other scams circulating.
Some companies have advertised products like teas or colloidal silver that will treat or prevent COVID-19, per the FTC.
“They know that people are just hungry for any information that is confirmed and the latest with this situation, and so they’re using that to their advantage,” Shelley Lynch with the FBI’s Charlotte division told WCNC.
And consumers shouldn’t be fooled by any calls, texts or emails seeking personal information in exchange for soon-to-come stimulus money.
“Anyone that’s promising to help you right now to get your stimulus check and to get it faster is absolutely a scammer,” Lynch told WCNC.
Read the full article in Biz Journals.