Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Swine Flu Scams Rampant on Internet Warns FDA

If there was ever an over the counter or self-care product guaranteed to protect to prevent or treat swine flu, it probably would be flying off the shelves by now.

Since there isn't any such product, the Food and Drug Administration is warning people to beware of swine flu scams on the internet.

The FDA's web site is alerting the public to watch out for bogus claims Internet sites and other promotions offering a quick fix for the swine flu. Scam artists know how to play on public's fears and are selling everything from pills to protective shampoos to treat or cure swine flu, FDA officials said.

In addition, they have sent warning letters to promoters of more than 140 swine flu-related products.

Consumer Reports also warn the public to be wary.

"Swine Flu...Gone," a product made by Secrets of Eden caught the attention of the FDA because it contained silver. The web site claimed that with ionic silver on your hands and on any surface where these germs may exist and kill the virus.

As reported by the AP, Secrets of Eden sells supplements and oils with a biblical flair, said its general manager, Rick Strawcutter, a former pastor in Adrian, Mich.

The staff "got a little carried away" on marketing for one product and "drew the ire of the FDA," he said. Strawcutter said he ordered a stop to it.

FDA officials said fraudulent products emerged shortly after swine flu did last spring.

Alyson Saben, head of a swine flu consumer fraud team formed by the Food and Drug Administration says new sites are popping up every day. The FDA is working to alert consumers about web sites that are or were illegally marketing unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products in relation to the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus.

Swine flu scammers are driving consumers to pharmacy Web sites. To avoid getting the Better Business Bureau is offering some tips:

  • Don't believe online offers for vaccines against swine flu. They don't exist.
  • Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source, and don't click on any links in the body of the e-mail.
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date to avoid your computer catching a deadly virus.

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