The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on scams that have emerged in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The government agency urged the public to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage of fears and anxieties about COVID-19 through illegal robocalls, fraudulent products, Medicare scams and more.
The FTC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have teamed up to send warnings to sellers of fraudulent coronavirus treatments such as teas and essential oils. The companies have been accused of selling unapproved products that claim to cure or prevent the coronavirus without any scientific evidence as required by law. There are currently no federally approved medications or vaccines to treat or protect people from the virus. The agencies will keep an eye on consumer complaints, social media and websites to ensure the companies do not continue selling fake products.
The FTC received 18,235 reports of fraud in connection to COVID-19 between January 1 and April 15. People have lost $13.44 million to various scams. New York logged 26,660 reports of fraud, the majority of which were imposter scams.
The scams involve callers or emailers pretending to be from a government agency. They may promise to help people obtain relief money or make illegal health care proposals. For instance, a scammer may offer fake COVID-19 test kits to Medicare beneficiaries in an effort to gain personal information like bank account details or Social Security numbers. The FTC has advised people who suspect a scam call to hang up, report it or use a call-blocking app.
If you have been accused of running a scam or other types of fraud, contact Brill Legal Group as soon as possible. Our skilled defense attorneys are here to protect your rights.