The coronavirus outbreak is having some detrimental effects. Thousands of people are contracting the disease, and hundreds in the U.S. have passed away. Even the 2020 Olympics is canceled now. Unfortunately, despite the seriousness of this virus, there are some people who are using this situation to profit off of fear and sickness. Price gouging was the first example of this.
Matt Colvin, an Amazon seller in Tennessee, made national headlines by stockpiling over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. He was planning on reselling it on Amazon for a higher price. At a time where medical supplies are already limited, Colvin received national hate for attempting to profit off of this tragedy.
Colvin was able to sell 300 bottles of sanitizer before Amazon shut him down. Even more disappointing then price gouging is the misinformation out about the coronavirus. The internet can be a great place, but it also is a place where false reports can travel faster than the truth. There are several “fake cures” being posted online for the coronavirus that is not even remotely true.
Garlic Doesn’t Work
One of the biggest myths out currently is that garlic water can cure the coronavirus. If you type in garlic in the search bar of Twitter, you’ll find several posts and tweets of people asking can garlic help out? There are even graphics telling you how to make the garlic water, and that you need to share it with your friends and family to save them. The World Health Organization stated that although garlic is “a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, there’s no evidence that eating garlic can protect people from the new coronavirus.”
Listening to these posts without doing research on their credibility can be bad for your health. A woman recently was hospitalized in China because she inflamed her throat by consuming way too much garlic, 1.5KG to be exact. That translates into 16 bulbs of garlic. While people should use common sense, many are not thinking rationally with this virus going around. Be careful of the posts you share.
Bleaching Agents Are Dangerous
In addition to foods that are not effective, there are also social media posts about minerals and supplements that allegedly cure the coronavirus and boost your immune system. One of the main theories being discussed is MMS, otherwise known as the miracle mineral supplement.
MMS has chlorine dioxide in it, which has ties to killing cancer cells. The theory is that drinking this chlorine dioxide mix will kill the coronavirus. Chlorine Dioxide is a bleaching agent, so essentially, people spreading these posts are advocating people to drink bleach.
Jordan Sather, a popular conspiracy theorist on Twitter, has been tweeting constantly about MMS possibly being an effective agent against this virus. Twitter Users are replying to his tweets asking where it can be purchased. Sather directed his followers to Keavy’s Corner, a site selling MMS, and they are already backed up due to the number of orders for this Chlorine Dioxide mix. The FDA already put a response out about drinking bleaching agents in August 2019.
“Drinking any of these chlorine dioxide products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration. Some product labels claim that vomiting and diarrhea are common after ingesting the product. They even maintain that such reactions are evidence that the product is working. That claim is false.”
“Moreover, in general, the more concentrated the product, the more severe the reactions. The FDA has received reports of consumers who have suffered from severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration, and acute liver failure after drinking these products.”
Coronavirus Packages Are Not Cures
Healing Spirits are even selling coronavirus packages. While it seems unimaginable, it is very real. On their website, they have a statement reading “these packages are designed to boost your immune system (to help prevent) and treat viral symptoms with herbal remedies that have been used for centuries. We do not claim to be able to cure the coronavirus.” Clearly that is there to protect them from legal action because they have 2 types of packages that are obviously being sold with the intent of coronavirus prevention.
Their first package includes several supplements for immune System Tincture, Core Tincture, and Cold & Flu Tincture. This package also includes boneset tea, which many are saying helps get rid of the coronavirus too. Healing Spirits are selling this for $100, as well as the Deluxe Package for $130.
This new package also includes a 6-Mushroom Blend Powder and Antiseptic & Antibacterial Mist. Essentially, this site is selling a number of products that are not guaranteed or proven to stop the coronavirus at all. Ironically, both packages are SOLD OUT.
There are also scam emails being sent out. Hackers are sending fake test results by email to infect people’s computers. According to Buzzfeed, “the fake HIV emails are designed to look like they come from Vanderbilt University, possibly to exploit the credibility of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The emails, which include an attached spreadsheet labeled “test results,” have been sent to insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical companies. When downloaded, a user is prompted to install macros, which leads to them becoming infected with malware known as the Koadic Remote Access Trojan.”
The last thing you should be aware of is fake emails coming your way. While they are creative and clever, they are also very dangerous. According to Norton, a computer protection company, coronavirus scam emails are coming in 3 forms: CDC alerts, health advice emails, and workplace policy emails.
First, hackers are sending emails posing as CDC officials. These emails claim to have a link to coronavirus cases around you. This obviously preys on people’s fears, and they are more likely to click to see who around them has the virus. Of course, it is not real.
The second type of emails are health advice alerts. Inside these messages, hackers offer medical advice for the virus. They also include a link, which you believe to be a downloadable file, but the link is nothing but a scam. Workplace policy emails claim that due to the recent outbreak, we have new procedures that you need to be aware of. Once again, these hackers put a link in the email for you to click.
All of these links lead to you downloading malware and viruses, or you providing your personal information. It can possibly be both. However, you need to be careful with any emails that you see come in your mailbox. Do not give any personal account information or household information through an email.
Here are some ways to potentially avoid this issue:
- Never give in to online requests for personal information.
- Always check the email address for legitimacy.
- If there are grammar issues, the email is not credible.
- If your name is not addressed in the email, it may be spam. When your company emails you personally, they know who you are. Scammers do not.
- Any email insisting you act now is wrong.
- If it sounds sketchy, it probably is! Use common sense.
The coronavirus situation isn’t just about keeping yourself clean and social distancing. Be careful and alert on all fronts! People are trying to capitalize on a negative circumstance, but you’re too smart for that. Thanks to us, we know you won’t fall for their tricks.