Myths and Scams
There is new information coming out each day about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and with it, new myths that are making their way through the digital world.
The City of Evanston encourages residents to seek facts and information from reputable sources like the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
Myth: I need to stockpile as many groceries and supplies as I can in case there is a total national shutdown.
Fact: Only buy what you and family need for up to two weeks. It is important to remember that many families may be unable to buy a supply of food and water for weeks in advance. Consumer demand has recently been exceptionally high–especially for grocery, household cleaning, and some healthcare products.
Myth: Only those over 60 years old or those with existing health problems are at risk of contracting or dying from COVID-19.
Fact: According to the CDC, those at higher risk include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions; however, symptoms can range from mild to severe in individuals of any age.
Myth: Coronavirus isn’t as prevalent in hot or humid climates.
Fact: Based on evidence currently available, COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, including those with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, protective measures should continue to be employed.
Myth: Taking antibiotics can help prevent and treat COVID-19
Fact: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. COVID-19 is a virus.
Myth: Inhaling hot air or blowing hot air up your nose will help kill COVID-19.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that proves this to be true. While drinking hot liquids or inhaling hot air may help sooth symptoms, it will not cure a person of COVID-19.
Myth: Taking Advil or other medication can cure me of COVID-19.
Fact: There is currently no cure or treatment for COVID-19. Supportive care like Advil, increased liquid intake, and ventilators can help treat the symptoms, but will not cure an individual of COVID-19.
Myth: Getting a flu shot will help prevent me from getting COVID-19.
Fact: A flu shot will not prevent an individual from contracting COVID-19; however, it could help with the medical response to the outbreak. Fewer cases of the flu means more resources will be available to fight COVID-19. Additionally, it’s important to keep a high-functioning immune system by remaining healthy.
Be on the lookout for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. Government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails asking for your private information in order to send you money. Other phishing emails may claim to be related to: charitable contributions, general financial relief, airline carrier refunds, fake cures and vaccines, and fake testing kits.
Fake CDC Emails
Do not open emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Do not click on links or open attachments you do not recognize. If clicked on, these links could be used to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information.
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment
Be cautious of anyone trying to sell you products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products like sanitizers, gloves, N95 respirator masks, and face shields. Report counterfeit products at ic3.gov.
Text Message Hoaxes
Text messages are being sent to individuals claiming that the government will order a mandatory national two-week quarantine, or instructing them to go out and stock up on supplies. The message can appear to be from a “next door neighbor.” According to the National Security Council, these text messages are fake.
COVID-19-Related Energy Scams
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, ComEd has received reports of scammers, posing as utility
representatives, approaching customers who may be self-isolating or having difficulty paying
their bills. These imposters threaten to shut service off or offer cash or credit incentives to obtain
a customer’s personal or financial information.