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Oct 22, 2009 11:44 AM by sleonard

H1N1 Flu - Swine Flu Scams

Swine flu has been in the news BIG TIME and that means swindlers/crooks are looking to prey on the concerned. Any period of upheaval and concern offers a chance for scammers to capitalize on fear. Here are a few swine flu scams that are currently in circulation.


Swine Flu Survival Guide
Want a Flu Survival Guide for only $19.95? the site has no information about where it is located, first red flag. These kits are being offered on various Web sites and some include things like cheap surgical masks, latex gloves and other basic items you can get yourself for less. Others offer spurious (I had to look up the meaning: fake/bogus) advice or information you can get free from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -CDC. Some other kits never arrive -you order them and the most you will get is a case of identity theft (because you have given a swine flu swindler your credit card information).
The bottom line is that you do not need a special kit to survive swine flu. What you do need is common sense: Wash your hands, avoid contact with those who are sick and take care of yourself physically. The CDC has information on making your own survival kit.

Swine Flu Vaccinations
Now, though, a swine flu vaccine is being tested and is expected to be available nationally by early to mid October. Beware of claims that you can obtain the vaccine through unofficial channels, or that you can participate in a study. Instead, check with your doctor, local health clinics and state health agencies to find out where you can get access to the real vaccine, and when it will be available in your area go to the Louisiana Department of Hospitals at http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov or call (225)342-9500 .

Swine Flu Phishing Scams
Because the H1N1 virus has been in the news, swindlers know that people are interested in opening e-mails about the swine flu and receiving alerts. You might be asked to click on a link about swine flu that takes you to a phishing page that could ask for personal information. These scams try to obtain your personal information for purposes that are definitely not related to protecting the public from swine flu.
The Better Business Bureau suggests that you avoid Web sites that have the words swine flu in the domain name. Back in April and May, a number of site names with those words were registered, and more are expected now as awareness of swine flu gets another bump.
Instead of going to some other, unknown site, stick with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site for your updates or 800-232-4636 24 hours a day , and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in e-mails related to swine flu from unknown sources.
Tips for avoiding falling prey to swine flu swindlers online and through e-mail:

  • Contact your Internet provides and set up a spam filter in your email.
  • Treat email attachments especially from unknown sources with caution.
  • Do not open unsolicited email, especially from unknown senders. Instead, delete the e-mail or report it to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the e-mail to spam@uce.gov ? Avoid following links in email messages.
  • Keep your antivirus and firewall software up to date.

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