Scammers bank on Ebola fears
One thing we’ve learned at the Federal Trade Commission is that scams often follow the news – especially when there’s a health scare in the headlines.
Banking on fear, scam artists are making unsubstantiated claims that products containing everything from silver to herbal oils and snake venom can cure or prevent Ebola. Not so, says the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, the FTC and FDA recently sent a warning letter to Natural Solutions Foundation to hammer home that point.
What you need to know: There are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat Ebola. Although there are experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments under development, these are in the early stages of product development, have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness, and the supply is very limited. There are no approved vaccines, drugs, or products specifically for Ebola available for purchase online or in stores. No dietary supplements can claim to prevent or cure Ebola, according to the supplements industry. If you’ve seen companies or products touting these claims, report them to the FTC and FDA.
If you are traveling to West Africa, where the 2014 Ebola outbreak has occurred, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low.
Health fraud trades on false hope. Learn how to evaluate claims for products related to your health.