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Avoid Online Coronavirus Scams

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel reminds Michigan consumers to be aware of online coronavirus scams selling bogus products and providing false information on COVID-19 tests and treatments.

Scams related to COVID-19 are climbing with the continued confirmations of positive COVID-19 cases in the United States. These attempts to obtain the personal information of consumers include online posts pitching unreliable products, advice, fake tests and cures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Additionally, online offers are selling masks – that reportedly are not being delivered – to consumers while using misleading language to convince them to purchase.

Nessel also warns Michigan residents that misinformation about COVID-19 symptoms and treatment falsely attributed to a ‘Stanford Hospital board member’ is being widely circulated on social media. The post falsely claims that people may not show symptoms for several days, but can ‘test’ whether they have coronavirus simply by holding their breath for more than 10 seconds—and if you can comfortably hold your breath without coughing, you probably don’t have the virus. The post further recommends sipping water every 15 minutes to wash the virus into your stomach, where stomach acid kills it, to prevent the virus from entering your windpipe and lungs. Stanford University warns that this email did not come from Stanford Medicine and contains inaccurate information.

The Attorney General’s office is reviewing a high volume of consumer complaints and calls related to price-gouging and scams centering around COVID-19. We encourage consumers to continue filing complaints with our office so that the reports can be investigated and we can follow up accordingly. Additionally, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection webpage is always available as a resource for consumers to turn to.

If you believe you are the target of a scam, hang up the phone and verify the identity of the caller independently. Do not give out any personal information unless you have first confirmed who you are talking to is actually who they claim to be.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available by visiting Michigan’s Coronavirus website or by visiting the CDC’s website.

To report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information, contact the Consumer Protection Division:

Consumer Protection Division

P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form

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