Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, bad actors continue to find ways to scam individuals, hospitals, and organizations. Scams that include PPE, testing, price gouging, and others are on the rise, so it’s important to stay informed as to not fall victim to these misleading products and services. To help combat COVID-19 related fraud, we’ve compiled a list of scams to help end-users and purchasers identify authentic products and avoid inflated prices.
The race for effective treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 is intensifying. By preying on our hopes and fears, scammers hope to steal our insurance information, money, or both.
One bogus scheme involves the marketing of fraudulent and/or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests which can potentially provide false results. The FBI warns that “Fraudsters are seeking to obtain individuals’ personal information (names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, etc.) and personal health information, including Medicare and/or private health insurance information, which can be used in future medical insurance or identity theft schemes.”
To avoid being scammed, the FCC offers the following tips to help protect yourself from coronavirus scams:
● Be careful of offers that require your insurance or doctor’s info.
● Never share personal info via text, email, or over the phone.
● Be cautious if you’re pressured to make a payment immediately.
● Don’t click links from unknown phone numbers.
With the added pressure put on supply chains around the world, counterfeiters are taking advantage of the demand and panic buying. Counterfeit PPE products can have far-reaching consequences that affect respected brands and delay critical fulfillment and services. Tener Veenema, Ph.D., MPH, RN, a professor of nursing at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing says “this is a huge concern, and it’s something that we’ve been stressing because these counterfeits are putting people’s lives in danger.”
To combat these dangers, it’s critical to get FDA approved and CE Certified PPE from a reputable supplier to ensure that frontline health specialists have the necessary protection so they can continue to care for COVID-19 patients.
In a memo to U.S. Attorneys, Attorney General Barr said, "The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated." Here are a few class-action lawsuits that have recently been filed alleging price-gouging practices:
● Egg producers and grocery retailers, including Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon “participated in the price-gouging resulting in a near-tripling of egg prices in the past 30 days.”
● eBay encouraged price gouging by sellers of goods and benefited from elevated prices and that “Plaintiff and the Class are left with no choice but to purchase essential goods like N-95, N-100, and surgical masks.”
● A suit on behalf of national and California consumer classes that include purchases of “any consumer food items or goods, goods used for emergency cleanup, emergency supplies, medical supplies.”
Help Combat COVID-19 Scams
If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 scam, counterfeiting scheme, or price gouging, immediately report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Justice, the FBI, or the Food and Drug Administration.
To ensure that frontline health specialists have the necessary protection so they can continue to care for COVID-19 patients, contact us for FDA approved and CE Certified PPE today.