Most concerns about the coronavirus are legitimate, and at this point, no one knows when and where it will strike, and when the strike will end. Many, if not most, of us are being affected by it, whether by health, wealth, or general welfare. One thing we know for sure: Someone will find a way to illegally or unethically profit from the crisis.
In fact, criminals are already cashing in on people’s panic, especially that of vulnerable seniors. Studies show that, although older folks are no more susceptible to contracting the virus than younger people, they are more likely to have severe, life-threatening reactions to it. On another note, seniors are also more susceptible to email, phone, and other scams, including the new virus-related crimes.
Traps to beware of include emails and phone calls from so-called agencies and organizations purporting to collect money to help victims of the virus. There are also companies selling “cures” and “treatments” for the virus. Read what the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have to say about these scams.
What the FTC is Doing
The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver. The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims — as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus.
Avoid Coronavirus Scams
Here are some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay:
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
If you come across any suspicious claims, report them to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
If you need legal advice in managing an estate, trust, other elder law issue or veteran’s benefits, the Law Office of Scott C. Painter can help. We specialize in elder law issues ranging from nursing home planning, guardianship, wills, trusts, estates, veteran’s benefits, and other related legal matters. Attorney Scott Painter is CELA® certified under the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).
A call to us is free, and the best advice is to act now to educate yourself about your options. Waiting to seek legal counsel may limit your options and be costly. Call now for your free consultation at 610-378-5140 or visit http://painterelderlawpc.com/ for more information.