Alex Jones is the latest high-profile right-wing pundit to hawk a supposed cure for the coronavirus as scammers flood the market with fake cures, prompting a warning by New York’s Attorney General.
Jones claimed during a broadcast that a nanosilver toothpaste he sells kills coronavirus and that his claim is backed up by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, according to mediamatters, a site that tracks the media.
Neither government agency endorses or tests products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in statement no cures for the virus are currently on the market.
But that hasn’t stopped a slew of scam artists like Jones and televangelist Jim Bakker from preying on their gullible audiences. Bakker claimed a solution he sells stops the virus when rubbed on the skin.
Bakker, who is based in Branson, Missouri, launched a “divine merchandising” scheme last month to sell “Silver Solution” as a cure for coronavirus, prompting Missouri’s top law enforcement officer to take action.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt asked a court to issue civil penalties and a restraining order against Bakker and Morningside Church Productions for violating the state’s Merchandising Practices Act, according to the local riverfronttimes.com
In New York, Attorney General Letitia James ordered two companies to immediately cease and desist selling and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus.
The Silver Edge company falsely claimed its Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator “beats coronavirus” and is backed by “clinical documentation.”
Dr. Sherrill Sellman has been marketing colloidal silver products as a cure for coronavirus and selling them on her website and on the “Jim Bakker Show.” Bakker has endorsed the product.
“Falsely marketing products as a treatment for a serious disease and charging steep prices is deeply unethical and unlawful,” said James. “We will continue to go after any company that attempts to deceive the public, especially during this public health crisis.”
James also ordered the Jim Bakker Show to stop marketing Dr. Sellman’s Silver Solution The Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator retails for $249.95.
Both companies tout colloidal silver as the main ingredient in their products, but the National Institutes of Health says colloidal silver can actually be dangerous to a person’s health.
The FDA has warned that colloidal silver is not safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
Jones has used his media outlet “Infowars” to also promote such corona-related products as bulk food packages at inflated prices.
Infowars Store more than doubled the price of the bulk food packages it sells, with the most expensive package now costing nearly $3,000.
Jones made the toothpaste claim during the March 10 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, which streams online and is carried by radio stations throughout the country, according to mediamatters.
“I’m just going to tell you that for just your daily life and your gums and your teeth for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range.” Jones claimed.
Countless scientific studies have also determined that there is no evidence to support the use of colloidal silver as a treatment for any disease or condition, James said in a statement.
James has also issued cease and desist notifications to multiple businesses in New York for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, and rubbing alcohol — a violation of New York’s price gouging statute.
That statute prohibits the sale of goods and services necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers at unconscionably excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.
Online hackers have also jumped into the game. They have been sending fake coronavirus-themed emails designed to trick people into opening attachments that download malicious software, allowing access to their data, according to NBC News.
Some messages have impersonated the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while others have masqueraded as communications from health authorities in other countries, including Ukraine, Vietnam and Italy.