Sometimes people ask me what I think about the latest news about COVID-19 scams or related coronavirus breaking news; in the case of some of the most recent nonsense (see below) an eye roll is all I can muster–until you realize that there are plenty of people who don’t think about such things until a scammer is practically knocking on your front door to part you from your money.
In November 2020, CNBC.com reported that YouTube banned the One America News Network (OAN and sometimes known as OANN) from posting new videos and livestreaming for a week, “after the right-leaning media organization uploaded a fake cure for the coronavirus.”
CNBC quoted a YouTube representative who went on the record saying, “After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there’s a guaranteed cure,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNBC. Don’t waste your time and money on any such “cure” discussed on OAN, it doesn’t work. Your information on vaccines should come from medical professionals.
In general, you should be EXTREMELY skeptical of any so-called cure or news about coronavirus that claims the following:
- Claims that COVID-19 doesn’t exist
- Claims people do not die from COVID-19
- Anything encouraging home remedies in place of medical treatment for COVID-19
- ANY message that discourages you from seeking medical advice
- ANY claims that a group or individual has immunity to the virus
- Any claims that a person or group “cannot transmit COVID-19”
There are many COVID-19 scams circulating, and if you know someone who has been tempted to part with their money after encountering bogus claims such as the one promoted on OAN, remind them of the very simple steps that can be taken to identify scams. For example, coronavirus contact tracers do not need money, your financial information, or other non-health-related data. Contact tracers want your health information, that should be all.
There Is No COVID-19 “Cure”
But COVID-19 scams aren’t limited to bogus “cures” featured on “news” networks who still insist that Donald Trump won the presidential election of 2020; there are plenty of other scams out there related to the global pandemic. And that’s why you should also never respond to texts, emails, or phone calls related to government relief checks. You should never respond to unsolicited offers for COVID cures, miracle treatments, etc. Why?
Any COVID-19 vaccination will require administering by a trained medical professional. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have attended YEARS of school and years of training in order to work in their fields.
The FDA Is Not Emailing You
Anyone telling you to circumvent the care offered by trained and licensed professionals is simply wrong at best, and lying to your face at worst. Don’t respond to ads for test kits, don’t EVER respond to a robocall of any kind let alone one offering you a “cure” or economic relief, and never respond to any email supposedly sent to you by the “FDA” or “CDC” or “WHO”.
Here’s a news flash for you–nobody from the Centers For Disease Control, World Health Organization, or the Food and Drug Administration will ever email, text, or call you to ask for your private data, account numbers, routing numbers, debit card number, etc. If you reply to such communication you invite trouble of all kinds. If you need information about the coronavirus, use websites that have extensions that reflect their official nature such as .gov, .mil, etc.
Also, never EVER respond to a request for money where you are asked to send or receive cash, a wire transfer or gift card. These payment methods are preferred by scammers–especially gift cards and wire transfers because by their nature they are easier to use in scams.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.