The infoscammers are swarming like rats in a sewer to steal money from unsuspecting consumers. This new human-made plague has infiltrated email accounts, which are being flooded by scammers looking to exploit consumer fears about the coronavirus. It’s gotten so bad that the U.S. Secret Service issued an alert to the public about the types of email scams associated with the coronavirus. The scammers are using “phishing” exploits to steal personal information and social engineering tactics through legitimate social media websites seeking donations for charitable causes related to the virus. Another fraud scheme surrounds non-delivery scams. Essentially, criminal actors advertise as an in-demand medical supply company that sells medical supplies that can be used to prevent/protect against the Coronavirus. The scammers demand upfront payment or initial deposits then abscond with the funds and never complete delivery of the ordered products. Coronavirus scams fall into five categories:
- selling products that don’t exist or don’t work, such as a coronavirus vaccine;
- overcharging for goods in high demand, such as face masks or hand sanitizer;
- promising to send medical supplies but, after taking your money, never delivering;
- phishing scams sending email supposedly from WHO or CDC;
- bogus charities taking money supposedly to help.
Pandemic Survival – Spam emails link to a video by Clayton Matthews (who doesn’t actually exist) who promises that viewers who watch to the very end will be given the secret to survival. No secret will be forthcoming in the video. Instead, they’ll hawk a “study course” titled “Pandemic Survival,” which can be yours for the low, low price of $37.00 from BuyGoods — a notorious infoscam website. This is a textbook infoscam that taps into your fear into being sold information that is readily available for free. Plus, once you order it, they’ll be besieging you with even more bogus offerings. And watch out about the “money back guarantee” — BuyGoods is notorious for ignoring such requests.
Immune Boosting Products – Scammers are claiming that just about everything they sell will help you fight off the coronavirus. Even colloidal silver,a well-known poison. One bogus site called Immunity911 is trying to get consumers to pay almost $70 per bottle for almost useless vitamins. Others are hawking mega-doses of Vitamin C. In a return to the discredited 1970s, on-line retailers like PuraThrive Vitamin C offer something they call “liposomal” Vitamin C that will block coronavirus from infecting you. For the ridiculous price of $39.95, they send you an 8 oz bottle of Vitamin C. They are seizing upon a very controversial researcher who claims that mega-doses of Vitamin C will be an immune booster. You can buy the same amount of liquid vitamin C from Walmart for about $10. But, in the absence of ANY scientific support for this claim, we suggest you not buy any Vitamin C. Another site is selling “vitamin boost gummies” for almost $35 — which is more than you’d pay for cannabis gummies. The gummies that get you high might even be more effective in getting you through the coronavirus lock downs. Instead, just follow our free Coronavirus immunity boosting instructions. Yet another scam is perpetrated by Zenith Labs’ Bulletproof Immune System scam. Read more about it at contrahealthscam.com.
For more scam sites selling bogus anti-virus products check out Truth in Advertising’s coronavirus scammer list. Some of the names you’ll find on this infamous list include:
- Timeshare Freedom Group
- Ultra Pure Beta Glucan
- Agora coronavirus emails
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals
- The Jim Bakker Show
- Herbs of Kedem
- Modern Alternative Mama LLC
- NRP Organics Ltd
- Holistic Healthy Pet
- CBD Online Store
- Genesis 2 Church
- Carahealth Immune
- Anti Aging Bed
- Halosense Inc.
- Vital Silver
- Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd.
- GuruNanda, LLC
- Vivify Holistic Clinic
- Herbal Amy LLC
- Balance of Nature
- Tranont distributor’s Facebook post (since removed)
- JoAnne Bassett’s “Corona Virus Oil”
Hand Sanitizers, Masks, Sanitizing Wipes – All manner of email scammers are offering these items which are currently in short supply. Most all of the offers are made by companies based outside of the U.S. So any order that you make will likely not be fulfilled and you’ll have a hard time getting your money back. Especially if you didn’t use a credit card to make the purchase. Be assured, that even if they do deliver the promised items, you will have paid a ridiculous amount of money for the items. For example, Oxybreath Pro masks are still being advertised online for $49 each, even though the British government banned the ads as fraudulent. You can make your own masks for pennies. Use only sanitizing cleaners on the EPA-registered disinfectants list. The EPA lists more than 350 products that it has determined to be safe and effective. However, the agency says it has seen a surge in unregistered, illegal disinfectants — from wipes and sprays to a “disinfection sticker” — marketed with unproven and potentially dangerous claims of protection against the coronavirus.
Failing to Deliver Promised Goods – This is a typical delivery scam which attempts to defraud people who are buying medical supplies online. In a coronavirus scam, the criminal will create a website that pretends to sell medical equipment. They take advantage of peoples fear of the coronavirus outbreak by offering masks, hand gel, self-testing kits and UV sanitizers for the virus. Once you pay for the goods the scammer will not send them to you.
InfoWars Products – Any of the anti-viral or immune-boosting products sold at Alex Jones’ infamous website are probably worthless. Jones has been accused by the FDA of making illegal claims about his products and have been served with a cease-and-desist order by the federal watchdog.
Any Offers Relating to CARES Act Stimulus Payments from the IRS – The Treasury Department issued a warning about scammers trying to steal stimulus payments as well as personal information. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an IRS official who offers you coronavirus payments in exchange for a fee or their personal information, then hang up as quickly as you can. Similarly, if you receive any emails, first forward them to email@example.com and then delete them!
For more about coronavirus scams, spend 20 minutes with John Oliver below:
Our Bottom Line
- Don’t buy anything from any company selling you coronavirus products or materials via email.
- Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you do not recognize. These attachments can contain malicious content, such as ransomware, that can
infect your device and steal your information.
- Avoid emails or phone calls requesting account information or requesting you to verify your account. Legitimate businesses will never call you or email you directly for this information.
- Always independently verify any requested information originates from a legitimate source.
- Visit websites by inputting the domain name yourself. Businesses use encryption, so if you don’t see a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) (e.g. https://) before the domain then its likely that this is a scam website.
- Check out this website for possible coronavirus scams before you ever buy a virus-related product or service.