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Be Wary of Hoaxes around COVID-19

Educate yourself on the latest scams involving the coronavirus

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning the public on several hoaxes and scams that have popped up in regard to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to the FTC, there have been warning letters issued jointly with the FDA to companies regarding unapproved and misbranded products, "claiming they can treat or prevent the coronavirus." The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims - as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Here are some tips from the FTC to help fight against coronavirus scammers:

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, go straight to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) for your information.
  • Don't click on links from sources you don't know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device. Remember to go straight to the source yourself - don't rely on the links you're provided by sources you don't know.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure the coronavirus - online or in stores.
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don't let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don't do it.

Also keep in mind, under the Florida governor's declaration of a State of Emergency, Florida's price gouging law is in effect and prohibits extreme increases in the prices of essentials items. Learn more about price gouging and your rights.

Hillsborough County and the Department of Health continue to remind residents and visitors to help prevent colds, flu, and coronavirus by taking the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you're sick.

Get Connected. Stay Alert.
For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the region, visit and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates.