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H1N1 Buzz Creates Internet Fraud


December 2, 2009
With the recent national vaccination campaign against H1N1 influenza came considerable public and media attention for the new virus strain. As a result, several opportunists have taken advantage of public concern in order to sell fraudulent H1N1 products online.

To add insult to injury, some people may now be receiving spam e-mails citing false H1N1 vaccination requirements for personal information.

Alerted by a local health department about the H1N1-related spam, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a warning today on their Web page for Health Related Hoaxes and Rumors

E-mails are being sent requesting that people register for an H1N1 vaccine by following a link and entering personal information. Clicking on these links can cause your computer to be infected by malware or computer viruses.

To avoid investing in fraudulent products on the Web, consumers can check out the Fraudulent Products Widget on NACCHO''s H1N1 Web site. 

This widget is part of the Federal Drug Administration''s (FDA) effort to combat Internet peddlers. Consumers are being urged to be extremely discriminating and question any claims about miracle H1N1 products they may read online:

"Products that are offered for sale with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated," said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the FDA''s commissioner.
   
"Unless these products are proven to be safe and effective for the claims that are made, it is not known whether they will prevent the transmission of the virus or offer effective remedies against infection. Furthermore, they can make matters worse by providing consumers with a false sense of protection."

Have you been the victim of or heard about an H1N1-related hoax? If so, please e-mail H1N1info@naccho.org. The information you provide may be useful in deterring online fraud.

 

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