It is disheartening to note that while most of us are concerned about swine flu and there a some out there who are currently suffering from it, there are others who are out to make an extra buck out of someone else’s panic, fear or misery.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning against web sites and e-mails that are out to scam people out of hard-earned cash under the guise of being of assistance towards keeping swine flu at bay. The BBB reported an unprecedented sudden increase in web activity, which includes the registration of domains, which are normally indicative of scams. Hundreds of new sites that have “swine flu” in the URL have cropped up. There are also reports of spam e-mails being sent out that claim that Madonna and other celebrities have contracted swine flu, and within these e-mails are links to online pharmacies.
The effects of these scams may include the downright selling of items at ridiculous prices that your don’t really need – such as a “Swine Flu Survival Kit” that includes nothing more than latex gloves and a mask. One site reportedly offers “Swine Flu Formula” composed of 100 veggie capsules with Vitamin C, olive leaf and cat’s claw extract. Another would be identity theft, as scammers take advantage of credit card and other personal information provided by a consumer. There are also those who reportedly go as far as offering swine flu vaccine – when we know very well that there isn’t any. And even if there isn’t any case yet, a technical bug such as a computer virus that can be spread via e-mails with “swine flu” as a subject may not be far behind.
The best way to protect one’s self from these scammers – as if it wasn’t enough that we needed to protect ourselves against swine flu in the first place – is to keep one’s self informed so that one does not easily get swayed by schemes such as medicines and vaccines. Be wary of e-mails from sources you don’t know, and never trust “new medicines” and such announcements. Stick to reliable online sources when doing your reading or making medical purchases.