3 COVID-19 scams to look out for, including so-called puppy scam

Thursday, May 21, 2020
COVID-19 scams to watch for, including so-called puppy scam
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Scammers are claiming what? ABC13's Steve Campion breaks down the top COVID-19 related scams, including one that may be targeting you if you're looking to adopt a new pet!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Scammers are not taking a break, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston told ABC13 it has received numerous complaints from people about new scams involving COVID-19.

Leah Napoliello with the BBB said the number one scam involves face masks.

She said people have reported buying masks online, but a shipment never gets delivered. They also reportedly can't get a refund.

Plus, the BBB said people have been receiving emails and messages claiming that, for a price, they can buy products the government is supposedly keeping secret. It's important to remember, although medical experts are working to find a COVID-19 vaccine, one does not currently exist.

"It is important to go to a site that you're familiar with," said Napoliello. "Check it out. Check with the BBB to see if we have any complaints."

Then, there's also a so-called puppy scam.

Napoliello said they've received reports of people being charged bogus fees, such as crate or vaccine fees, claiming to be connected to coronavirus.

She said scammers go as far as even inventing charges.

"A rise in the puppy scams, they're basically skyrocketing," she said. "People are wanting to buy puppies online because they're staying at home. They're not comfortable maybe going to an animal shelter right now."

If you want to take on the responsibility of a pet, she recommends you check with your local shelter about adopting an animal instead.

Then there's an antibody test scam, where scammers claim to be selling at-home antibody test kits.

Here's how it works:

You get a robocall or are directed to a website that looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 tests. These tests can allegedly identify if you've been infected with coronavirus - even if you've already recovered, according to the BBB's website.

Some of these scams even promise results in 10 minutes.

"You don't want to go to some website or business you've never heard of and then get a test that turns out to be ineffective," said Napoliello.

The BBB has posted several tips on other COVID-related scams on its website. Check out the full list here.

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