CHICAGO (WLS) -- Growing concerns over COVID-19, or the new coronavirus, has many people looking for ways to avoid getting sick.
Scammers are also using the outbreak to prey on anxieties, and con people out of money.
The Better Business Bureau said one scam to look out for is the so-called "miracle cure" for COVID-19.
Right now in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs or vaccines to prevent coronavirus, although treatments are in development.
Con-artists may also impersonate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with phishing emails.
The BBB said to be wary of messages that claim to have news about the outbreak, because they could trick readers to download malicious software on their devices. Other emails try to get people to donate to a fake fundraising effort by claiming to be a government program to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
Steve Bernas from the Better Business Bureau visited ABC 7 to explain the red flags consumers should look for.
Here's the BBB's advice on how to spot a coronavirus scam:
- Don't panic. Do your research: Be skeptical of alarmist and conspiracy theory claims and don't rush into buying anything that seems too good - or crazy - to be true. Always double check information you see online with official news sources.
- Be wary of personal testimonials and "miracle" product claims. Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases. No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases. Also, testimonials are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
- It's "all natural." Just because it's natural does not mean it's good for you. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.
- Check with your doctor: If you're tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.
If you have a question for the Better Business Bureau, send an email to ABC7@chicago.bbb.org.
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