How to Spot False Coronavirus Cures

Don't let companies use false claims to sell products

A combination of fear and increased online shopping as a result of COVID-19 has left a comfortable niche for one group: scammers. Products that claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure an ailment like the novel Coronavirus must be classified as a drug, requiring approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). As of April 19th, the agency has sent 34 warning letters to companies making unsubstantiated claims surrounding cures or treatments for the novel coronavirus. Here are the tips you need to keep in mind to avoid and report these false claims.

How to Spot Fake Claims

Know the facts: As of April 28th, 2020, “there are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19”, according to the CDC. 

Stay wary of “Immune Boost” and “Antiviral” claims: It’s important to note that just because a product has generally valid immune boosting or antiviral claims, does not mean it will prevent or cure the novel Coronavirus. Some can claim effectiveness in treating a range of diseases, but there is no scientific proof that those claims extend to COVID-19.

Look for spelling errors: Descriptions for fraudulent products haven’t been edited and fact-checked to the extent of FDA-approved products, making it more likely for spelling errors to slip through the cracks. It’s smart to make note of these obvious errors and steer yourself away from that product.

Avoid Inconsistent caps lock or rhetorical questions: If a products’ description or advertisement makes boasting claims related to COVID-19, uses fear tactics, caps lock or pointed, rhetorical questions, then it should be scrutinized.

How to Confirm a Fraudulent Product

Don’t trust, verify: Information and cures surrounding the novel Coronavirus are subject to change, which is why you should verify any product claiming to protect against or treat COVID-19 through the CDC and FDA websites. Always trust the experts with your questions.

Report suspicious products: If you come across a product that claims to protect against or cure the novel Coronavirus, and you’ve taken the steps above, you should report the product to the FDA.