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COVID-19 scammers take advantage of NWA community

The scam artists are providing COVID-19 tests and giving false-positive results, then they would offer an “immunity boost” for thousands of dollars.

JOHNSON, Arkansas — Scam artists are in Northwest Arkansas scamming people out of thousands of dollars for a fake cure for COVID-19.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said her office is investigating the scam. Rutledge said these bad actors are targeting the Hispanic community, taking advantage of people with English as a second language.

The scam artists are providing COVID-19 tests and giving false-positive results, then they would offer an “immunity boost” for thousands of dollars, according to Rutledge. 

“Scam artists are trying to take advantage of the language barrier and promoting an immunity boost for COVID-19,” Rutledge said. “There is nothing on the market that is FDA approved that says this will help prevent you from getting COVID-19.”

The Attorney General says she wants to stress the dangers of receiving a COVID-19 test from someone who is not a medical professional and that if someone comes to your doorstep offering a tests it is probably fake.

“If someone is trying to sell you something that is an immunity boost it is a scam,” Rutledge said. “Walk away and save your money. Do not give that money to a snake oil salesman who is claiming to have an immunity boost for COVID-19 because one it does not exist.”

The Attorney General's office is conducting a full investigation into the scam. At this time no details on who is responsible or an exact location on where in Northwest Arkansas this is occurring have been released.

Rutledge asks the community to contact her office immediately if they or someone they know has fallen victim to one of these scams.

Attorney General Rutledge has offered the following tips for consumers about fraudulent COVID-19 cures and treatments.

  • Avoid paying exorbitant fees for COVID-19 tests. Instead, visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website to find locations of mass testing and clinics offering COVID-19 tests at no cost to consumers.
  • Be cautious of health providers who claim they can cure, prevent, or lessen the effects of COVID-19 while charging high fees for their false claims.
  • For questions about COVID-19, including where to find testing locations, call the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847.
  • Find accurate information about COVID-19, including information about how it spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, what to do if you are sick and frequently asked questions, on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.  

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