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Avoid COVID-19 Scams
Scammers are already exploiting COVID-19 by hyping bogus products, touting sketchy investments and pumping out malware-laden emails.
The Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs and its Scam Squad partners urge county residents to take a few simple steps to avoid and report COVID-19 scams:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. Links in emails, texts and social media posts that promote bogus cures or preventive products. Some of these are loaded with malware that can infect computers and other devices.
- Be suspicious of ads or social media claims about products that can ward off the virus. The Federal Trade Commission, a Cuyahoga County Scam Squad partner, has already sent warning letters to companies that are making unproven claims that products ranging from colloidal silver, essential oils and teas have can protect against the virus. The FTC has created a site to track COVID-19 scams. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has up-to-date info on the virus prevention and effective cleaning products.
- Get updates on COVID-19 from trusted news and official sources. Cuyahoga County has created a blog to keep residents updated and to provide links to reliable info. You can also check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has up-to-date info on health information and links to effective cleaning products.
- Stay clear of hyped info about homemade remedies. Some of the cleaning formulas being hyped on social media may not be effective.
- Report price-gouging. The Ohio Attorney General’s office is tracking reports of stores that greatly inflate prices to take advantage of virus scares. Report to the attorney general at OhioProtects.org or 1-800-282-0515.
- Avoid pump-and-dump investment schemes. The SEC is warning investors they can be stuck with worthless investments if they sink money into companies that falsely claim their stocks are about to soar because of COVID-19 related stocks or services. Be especially wary of “research reports” and recommendations on microchip stocks.
Have a question or want to report a scam? Contact Scam Squad at Consumeraffairs.cuyahogacounty.us or 216-443-SCAM (7226).
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.