Swine Flu Scammers Kick Into High Gear

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

All the panic generated by the outbreak means you need to be on the lookout for scams.

The Better Business Bureau warns the con-artists are hard work looking to cash in on the scare.
Ever since swine flu hit, the U.S. computer monitoring company, McAfee, began tracking the number of scams to hit the web.

They say they've seen a huge jump in the number of sites selling supposed swine flu treatment products.

These sites offer everything from face masks to antibacterial hand wash.

The Better Business Bureau of the Permian Basin wants West Texans to watch out for medical emails.

They say some scams mascarade as medical information, but when you click on the link it slaps a virus on your computer.

There haven't been any reports of swine flu here in the Basin, but the Better Business Bureau says if there is one, we'll see even more scams hitting computers.

"It's possible we're going to see a large influx of those in the Permian Basin whether we get a case or not," Trish Powell, with the Permian Basin Better Business Bureau, said. "Definitely if we get a case, I can guarantee I would expect a lot more scams - phone calls, websites, mail, promoting sales of products."

Many of these venders also claim to sell vaccines, but the Better Business Bureau says there's no such thing.

Right now those vaccines are still in development and won't be ready for another six months.

The Better Business Bureau wants to remind you to be extremely careful before giving out your credit or bank account information.

If you have any questions or need to report a scam you can contact the Better Business Bureau. They've got a list of businesses and a wealth of information on whether the products they claim to sell are reliable.