2016 | News

Montgomery County Warns Against Zika Scams

Residents should be wary of bogus products and unscrupulous service providers

Flickr photo by Susannah Anderson

Scammers may try to exploit fears of the Zika virus in order to peddle bogus products or overcharge customers for mosquito removal, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection warns.

In a blog, the office cautioned residents against questionable businesses that may attempt to take advantage of the health scare. The Zika virus, which is carried by mosquitoes and causes birth defects when contracted by pregnant women, has spread through Brazil and Central and South America, but no local cases have been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the scams the office noted were mosquito-spraying contractors, investment rackets for products or services related to the virus, malware buried in online or emailed guides about Zika, and supplements promising protection from the virus.

The office urged residents to verify contractors are licensed by the state, look out for companies offering low initial prices that then increase and avoid purchasing products that claim to deter the virus without first talking to a doctor. Rather than opting for dubious alternatives, the office suggested that people should stick to the CDC or county tips on how to keep mosquitoes away.