Under the new not-so-normal norm, we are asked to keep our distance and avoid contact with others for the next eight weeks. For those of us who don’t have that option, we are asked to keep a six-foot distance. With all this social distancing you’d think it would not be possible to end up in a personal injury accident in Seattle. But, it’s still possible.
You might also feel inclined to give into impulse buys that you normal wouldn’t out of fear and/or concern. Or, click on an email attachment from what looks like a legitimate medical agency.
At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, our Seattle legal team strongly encourages you to carefully evaluate your current needs before you buy. We also suggest that you be on guard against any potential online COVID-19 scams.
Along those lines, we’ve put together a list of potential accident causes and scams in Washington.
Shopping Accidents and Injuries
There will come a time when you will need to go to a local grocery or big box store to restock on your essential items. As tempting as it may be to panic buy and stock up on items, financial advisors recommend that you remain calm and not spend money on unnecessary things. In fact, you should prioritize your needs over wants.
On the flip side, you should be alert for panic shoppers who may be functioning on a short fuse. If you see a person or group turning aggressive and combative, turn around and walk away. Also, look out for spilled products and disheveled shelves. The first can lead to a slip-and-fall accident. The second, to an object falling off a shelf and causing an injury.
In addition, store parking lots can be full of potential accidents and injuries resulting from distracted drivers and pedestrians. Both drivers and pedestrians should be alert and aware of each other to avoid Seattle car accidents and pedestrian accidents.
Scam 1: COVID-19 Cure Scams
On March 9, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal and Drug Administration (FDA) jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products. These sellers were claiming that their product can treat or prevent the novel coronavirus.
These are the seven companies that were contacted:
- Aromatherapy Ltd.
- GuruNanda, LLC
- Herbal Amy LLC
- The Jim Bakker Show
- Vital Silver
- Vivify Holistic Clinic
Further, the FDA and FTC suggest that if you do feel tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims to first check with a health care provider.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson also offered that at this time there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. Any claims that a product or service can cure, kill, or destroy COVID-19 are most likely false. Those false claims can be reported to the office of the Attorney General’s Office online at atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.
COVID-19 Scam 2: Phishing Emails/Social Engineering
On March 18, U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran requested that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies lookout for fraudsters preying on people’s concerns over COVID-19. He added that the Western District of Washington has extensive expertise in cybercrime and is already monitoring issues related to phishing attempts and efforts to infect emails, links, and postings with malware.
Moran strongly encourages members of the public to be wary of emails or online posts that could be infected with malware that could then infect their electronic devices and steal personal and financial information.
This was just nine days after the United States Secret Service issued a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Phishing Alert regarding these three scams:
- Distribution of mass emails posing as legitimate medical and or health organizations that may or may not include attachments that supposedly contain pertinent information regarding the coronavirus. Opening attachments has led to malware being uploaded onto that person’s computer.
- Social engineering tactics that seek charitable donations for COVID-19 causes through legitimate donation platforms. The money raised unfortunately does not benefit anyone but the scammer.
- Fake medical supply companies claiming to sell medical supplies that can be used to prevent/protect against the coronavirus. Payment is usually required up front with no product ever delivered. A victim’s personal and financial information can also be compromised.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid Injuries and COVID-19 Scams
To wrap it up: trusted agencies remind everyone to stay vigilant and be cautious of any offers regarding cures or treatments of the virus, use common sense precautions when out in the public, and find reliable sources to stay informed about what to do as the virus spreads.
We also encourage you to check out our coronavirus page for more information about local and national COVID-19 resources. Please be safe and know that if you need us, you can contact our Seattle Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorney law offices 24/7 by phone, LiveChat, or through a secure secure online form.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.