Scammers prey on Ebola fears with quack products

ID-100186144If you’ve been following the news lately, you’re probably at least a bit nervous about the deadly Ebola virus. It might be a “far away” tragedy at the moment, but what if it spreads to the U.S.? What if you or your loved ones catch it?

Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but many Americans are still afraid.

Anytime people are afraid, you can count on scammers to step in and take advantage.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Aug. 14 alert that offers for bogus Ebola drugs are turning up. Thought drugs are being tested to treat the disease, there is currently no FDA-approved Ebola drug on the market. Dietary supplements are forbidden by federal law from claiming to be able to prevent or cure disease.

BBB and FDA warns consumers to avoid purchasing fraudulent health products. Beware of the following red flags:

  • One product does it all. Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases. No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases.
  • Personal testimonials. Success stories are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
  • Quick fixes. Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products.
  • “All natural.” Some plants found in nature (such as poisonous mushrooms) can kill when consumed. Numerous “all natural” products contain hidden, untested, or dangerous ingredients.
  • “Miracle cure.” If a real cure for a serious disease were discovered, it would be widely reported through the news media and prescribed by health professionals—not buried in print ads, TV infomercials or on Internet sites.
  • Conspiracy theories. These statements are used to distract consumers from the obvious, common-sense questions about the so-called miracle cure.

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