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Don’t Fall for Fake Covid Treatment Scams Online

Written by Lucia Mueller | Posted April 25, 2022

At the beginning of the pandemic, conflicting news and studies whirled about the internet, claiming various miracle drugs and protocols that could save us from getting sick, hospitalization, or even death. It was scary, confusing, and incredibly frustrating: Depending on which algorithm you slipped into, you could have been dead set that ivermectin was the answer, or someone told me it was hydroxychloroquine –  or perhaps it was to be triple-masked, to attend the wedding, to not… where would you draw the line? Today, the Covid information landscape is beginning to feel less overwhelming. We may live on different planes of truth online, but I think we can find some common ground on best safety practices when encountering strangers peddling Covid treatments on the Internet. Some rules are universal.

Find Covid-19 Guidance for Your Community

With newly-approved effective treatment options, comes the inevitable online scam artists trying to sell fake Covid treatments, which can be detrimental to your health and/or finances. Many people, companies, and websites are attempting to profit off of the pandemic by making fraudulent claims about having either a miracle cure you’ve never heard of – or cheap versions of those you have. Here are the new antiviral kids on the block: Evusheld and Paxlovid. If you see these names marketed online, in addition to old familiar friends ivermectin, remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, etc., it’s wise to pause and review the following guidelines before adding anything to your cart.

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How to Avoid Covid Treatment Scams Online

Some of the guidance below may seem like no brainers, but desperation to help yourself or a family member can lead to blurred decision making:

  1. Do not trust websites that only sell Covid-19 related medication and products

An online pharmacy that only deals in Covid-19-related products, like masks and popularized pills, is definitely a red flag. There are websites that pop up under one web address one day and they’re gone the next! They’re fishing for unsuspecting, desperate people from which to steal credit card information.

  1. Do not order from a website offering to sell you Covid treatments that would normally require a prescription without a valid prescription. 

Period. This is the most surefire way to end up either receiving unsafe medications or not receiving anything at all, with your financial information stolen.

  1. Do not automatically trust a website that offers to write you a prescription for any Covid-19 related drug they sell based on your responses to an online questionnaire: check first. 

Some fake pharmacy sites advertise online medical consultations towards the issuance of a prescription that is allegedly written by a real doctor. Proceed with caution! There are legitimate websites, especially in the wake of Covid-19, that offer safe remote consultation, but ensuring they are vetted and reputable is crucial before purchasing your medication. 

  1. Do not deal with a pharmacy website selling Covid-19 related treatments that fails to publish verifiable and useful contact information.

Perhaps the most transparent indicator that you’re dealing with a suspicious actor is if they don’t offer any way to contact them other than an online form. Even if you do see a phone number and email address, test them before assuming it’s a legitimate operation.

  1. Do not click on that Covid-19 related spam email!

That email in your junk folder – or somehow ended up in your main inbox –  that markets cheap and accessible Covid medication is almost certainly a rogue online pharmacy. Mark the email as spam and/or delete it permanently. 

For more information on Covid-19 safety awareness online, visit: 

FDA: Beware of Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines and Treatments

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Reporting a Suspicious Covid-19 Website

Should you come across a suspicious website posing as a legitimate online pharmacy, report it to info@pharmacychecker.com so we can add it to our Rogue Pharmacies list. Note: This list is NOT comprehensive. There are tens of thousands of rogue web addresses out there that market cheap Covid-19 drugs. Email PharmacyChecker if you’re unsure.

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