Now that the Zika virus is being transmitted on U.S. soil, criminals are hoping to take advantage of Americans’ growing concern about the virus. Here are three scams to watch out for:
* Bogus Zika-prevention products.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that his office had sent cease and desist letters to seven companies that claim their products are “Zika-protective” or “Zika-preventative” when they’re not. The products include wristbands, patches and ultrasonic and botanical mosquito repellants.
“Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of public concern about Zika to peddle products that simply don’t work,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
The only products proven to repel mosquitoes contain one of the following four ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and an insect repellent called IR3535.
* Zika-related investment scams.
The SEC warned investors last spring to be on the lookout for companies that claim to be developing products or services relating to the Zika virus. Such scams might include “pump-and-dump” schemes, in which con artists pump up a stock price with false rumors and then dump their shares before the stock drops again. Steer clear of unsolicited investment offers and investments pushed by unregistered people or firms.
* Zika e-mail scams.
In February, internet security firm Symantec reported that malicious spam email claiming to be from a health and wellness site targeted Brazilians with a message purporting to have information about fighting the virus. Now that that the virus has moved to America, scammers may try similar tactics with U.S. email addresses.