Officials from the FDA, Health and Human Services, Medicare and Homeland Security are warning consumers about scammers selling unproven and illegally marketed products that make false claims, such as being effective against the coronavirus, as well as early access to the Covid-19 vaccine.
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The FDA is particularly concerned that these deceptive and misleading products might cause Americans to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm. It’s likely that the products don’t do what they claim, and the ingredients in them could cause adverse effects and could interact with, and potentially interfere with, essential medications.
Treatments and Vaccines for COVID-19
Fraudulent COVID-19 products can come in many varieties, including dietary supplements and other foods, as well as products claiming to be tests, drugs, medical devices, or vaccines. For example, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products, including teas, essential oils, tinctures, and colloidal silver.
Products marketed for veterinary use, or “for research use only,” or otherwise not for human consumption, have not been evaluated for safety and should never be used by humans.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Coronavirus Fraud
“If you’re receiving unsolicited offers for a vaccine, not one, not two, but about 10 red flags should go up,” says Nenette Day, assistant special agent in charge at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector Generals. “There is no way that you under any circumstance should deal with anybody except a known and reputable medical provider or pharmacy,” Day added..
Tips to avoid Covid-19 Vaccine Scams
- You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
- You cannot pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
- You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- No one from Medicare or the Health Department will contact you or try to obtain personal information.
- No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
- Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.
- If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam.
If you have a question or suspect fraud, contact the Delaware Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-223-9074. https://www.smpresource.org/Content/Medicare-Fraud/Fraud-Schemes/COVID-19-fraud.aspx