Fake medication, scams, tests during COVID-19 lockdown

There has been a surge of scams and cons taking advantage of fear people have during the spread of COVID-19


Taken by Shealah Craighead

President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force take questions from the press about the coronavirus. Saturday, March 14, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

Sarah Bounmixay, Editor

Health officials and private companies spread news to the public to not drink, eat or inject any disinfectants after President Trump commented in a news conference in April that possibly injecting disinfectants, such as bleach or isopropyl alcohol, into the body could fight against the Coronavirus. Trump defended his comment saying that he was sarcastically asking and talking to see the reactions of the reporters at the conference. It also was a statement directed to William N. Bryan, head of the science at the Department of Homeland Security, after his presentation about the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaning products, as well as ultraviolet light, on killing the Coronavirus on surfaces. This leads to how fake medications, testing, and other scams have risen in the fear of the Coronavirus and of people being stuck at home, isolated and six feet apart from others in public.

Like stimulus payment scams that were promised from the government to those that cannot work and earn as they could before the quarantine. Antibody testing has also become a problem, Food Drug Administration have stated they gave unreliable results when it comes to the Coronavirus and is giving companies that produce them 10 days to prove if they work. If they do not they will have to pull the products from the market. Another testing that happens at home, home test kits, are also scams. Only one at home test had been approved by the FDA and requires a doctor’s notice.

Online there are more scams that people fall for such as offers of vaccines through ads and websites and fake emails from the government. As well as the more ridiculous at-home remedies that are said to ward off the virus and phone calls claiming they had plans to send money to cover living expenses and provide at home jobs. The FTC, Federal Trade Center, says to the people to do their homework. No responding to texts, calls or emails about checks from the government, ignore the online offers of vaccinations, be careful of ads for test kits, hang up on robocalls, watch out for emails that claim they are from WHO or the CDC, and be cautious of donating money to a cause. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring your money.

The biggest con happening during the virus is the hoarding and selling of essential goods at outrageous prices from people hoping to create a profit. N95 masks, surgical gowns, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizers have been bought by bulk by some sellers hoping to gain money from desperate medical workers seeking protection from infected patients. In a New York Times article, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno was interviewed on his experience of finding protective equipment for him and his colleagues. His normal providers have run out of the equipment and the doctor looked elsewhere and contacted several buyers through WhatsApp. The seller never released his name to Dr. Salerno, but agreed to sell the doctor 3,000 surgical masks and 2, 800 sterile gowns for $12,000, about 700% more than the items’ original prices. The rest of the story and more can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/us/politics/coronavirus-scams-fraud-price-gouging.html