BBB warns of swine flu scams
CHARLOTTE ó The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent e-mails and Web sites trying to take advantage of the H1N1 (swine) flu pandemic and the growing public concern over it.
“Scammers are successful, because they use current headlines as hooks to catch a lot of fish,” said BBB president Tom Bartholomy. “With the global fear created by the H1N1 flu pandemic, scammers have a very large pond to fish in.”
According to McAfee Avert Labs, an online security company, spammers began pumping out e-mails as soon as the first cases of H1N1 flu were reported in the news. These e-mails and Web sites market H1N1 flu “medicines,” survival kits and other questionable products that are unproven, untested and unauthorized.
The BBB offers the following advice to avoid H1N1 flu scams:
– Do not purchase products currently being sold that fraudulently claim they can protect you against, or cure you of, H1N1 flu. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are dozens of products on the market including sprays, gels, herbal extracts, shampoos, teas, body washes, air systems, masks and more. None of these products are approved by the FDA and some of these products could contain ingredients that could potentially be harmful to your health. For a complete list of products, please visit: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/h1n1flu/
– Avoid opening H1N1 flu related e-mails, clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown senders that could infect your computer with spyware or malware to steal your personal information.
– Check your anti-virus and anti-spyware software to see they are up to date. Your computer could become infected with malware or spyware as the result of spam e-mail about H1N1 flu.
For information and updates on the H1N1 flu pandemic, visit www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu.
For more information about H1N1 flu scams, please visit www.bbb.org or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in the Carolinas.