Consumer Alert: Swine Flu Scams

April 30, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2009
Contact: Kate Simmons Phone: (207)626-8577

ATTORNEY GENERAL CONSUMER ALERT: SWINE FLU SCAMS

Attorney General Janet Mills warns Maine citizens against scammers who are trying to use the public’s fear of Swine Flu to cheat consumers. The Office of the Attorney General has become aware of an influx of emails with phrase “Swine Flu” in the subject line. These emails can have links to advertisements for an alleged flu medicine. Clicking on these sites poses a danger that a person’s credit card information will be stolen or that the consumer will be tricked into buying a counterfeit or completely ineffective medicine or a worthless product.

Attorney General Mills warns against opening any spam emails that purport to sell products against the Swine Flu. If you receive a Swine Flu email you should follow the advice of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team:

• Do not trust any unsolicited emails. • Do not open attachments to unsolicited emails as a general rule. • Do not click links in an email message. • Use a spam filter.

For reliable information about the Swine Flu, Mills advised consumers to go to the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/swineflu, or the Maine CDC web site, http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/index.shtml . Most especially, consumers should ignore and delete any email which advertises a vaccine for Swine Flu. Medical information should come only from a qualified medical professional.

“It is truly unfortunate,” Mills said, “that anyone would take advantage of concerned members of the public in order to make a fast profit. People should be aware that there is always someone ready to take unlawful advantage of consumers.”

A public service announcement to provide information and guidance for recent fraudulent activity surrounding ads for flu remedies: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/psa/consumerfraud.htm

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