Coronavirus Scammers: Fearmongering and False Advertising
By Bobby Alger, Marketing –
Anytime there is calamity, there are, unfortunately, those who take advantage of the confusion for personal gain. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 witnessed a New Orleans rife with both looters and vigilantes, shutting down international travel and quarantining entire countries and the excited—and often exaggerated—reports often led to more fear, anger, and misanthropy.
The recent epidemic of COVID-19—also known as the Coronavirus—has reached a point of panic for some communities, with grocery stores and warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s club being effectively cleaned out. The run on toilet paper has been the subject of not only news reports, but the butt of jokes and memes.
However, some more sinister types have decided to capitalize on the panic with emails, fake charities, and spread of misinformation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has partnered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issure warning letters to at least seven “sellers of unapproved and misbranded products [that claim] they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus.” Nonetheless, citizens everywhere should be vigilant and actively seek the truth about the situation.
The FTC has issued some guidelines to avoid falling victim to Coronavirus scams:
● Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
● Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. Rather, visit the CDC’s or the World Health Organization’s websites for the most up-to-date information.
● Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, lotions, etc. either prescription or over-the-counter available to treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
● Do your homework when it comes to donations. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation and avoid anybody asking for donations in cash, gift card, or wire transfer.
Converus, a lie detection company dedicated to preserving truth, has new technology called EyeDetect that would help in these growing deceptive situations. EyeDetect is administered by computer, making it fast, accurate and easily adaptable for social distancing. It could hold authorities accountable against abuse of power and give honest salesmen and representatives a way to prove their integrity. Knowing that a source was verified by a scientifically proven lie detection method would increase consumer confidence and decrease fraudulent transactions. See how Converus is helping in the battle against deception, here.
Photo by / Jagoda Kondratiuk