Within the Bay Area, nine counties have been victimized by the Zika Virus effecting more than 32 individuals. In Santa Clara County, there have been nine reported cases since July 22, 2016. The Better Business Bureau discovered a scam, selling a cure for the Zika Virus disease; which does not exist.
How the Scam Works:
You learn about a product that can prevent you from contracting Zika; you may have seen a friend’s post on social media, received an email or found a website through a general search. The promoted products range from wristbands to patches, to stickers, and they all claim to repel the mosquitos that carry Zika.
The product’s website may look completely legitimate and provide a large amount of information, including convincing testimonials. The Federal Trade Commission already issued warnings to online sellers, urging them to remove unsubstantiated claims about the products. Be skeptical of any too-good-to-be-true claims and look for EPA-approved products. This scam is unlikely to be the end of Zika-related cons. Fake cures and other cons preying on health fears are sure to pop up again… if not about Zika than about another disease.
How to Spot a Fake Cure:
Spot a fraudulent health product by watching out for these red flags:
- One product does it all… instantly. Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases. No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases.
- Personal testimonials instead of scientific evidence. Success stories are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
- It’s “all natural.” Just because it’s natural does not mean it’s good for you. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.
- The medicine is a “miracle cure.” If a real cure for a serious disease were discovered, it would be widely reported through the news media and prescribed by health professionals – not buried in print ads, social media ads, or on websites.
- Conspiracy theories. These statements are used to distract consumers from the obvious, common-sense questions about the so-called miracle cure.
- Check with your doctor. If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.
If you are interested in learning more about the fraudulent cures for the Zika virus, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.