Fears of Ebola have taken over the country in recent weeks, aided by heavy media coverage, so here’s a few scams and conspiracy theories related to the virus.
Last month, there were a number of fake reports published by so-called “satire” sites claiming Ebola “zombies” rose from the dead in Africa.
None of these stories are real, but they got millions of shares and “likes” on Facebook.
As of Friday, people were still commenting on the bogus reports on Twitter and Facebook.
Some of the “zombies” articles have included references to celebrities like rapper Gucci Mane or ex-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
In short, there’s been no confirmed cases of people “coming back from the dead.”
But some of the hoaxes and scams related to Ebola are a bit more insidious.
As the Guardian notes in a report on Friday, one man is trying to sell cures for Ebola
“This current ‘Ebola crisis’ is … a massive psy-ops campaign,” said Steve Barwick on his site. “In other words, the threat is largely being manufactured and planted into the minds of the American public, through the federal government/news media axis.”
“Back in 2008, the US Department of Defense (DOD), in conjunction with several other federal agencies, quietly conducted clinical research into the use of silver nanoparticles against Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses,” he adds. “And what they found was astonishing. They discovered that silver nanoparticles were highly effective against these deadly viruses, including the Ebola virus.”
Barwick is trying to sell colloidal silver.
“Of course, silver nanoparticles are not highly effective against Ebola – they are not effective at all. Nor is homeopathic rattesnake venom, or oil extracted from sandalwood or cinnamon bark. Nor is vitamin C, in any way other than being simply part of a healthy diet,” the Guardian writes.
Todd Spinelli, a New York resident, claims to have made $1.4 million from Ebola-C, a vitamin C supplement.
He’s sold about 45,000 units of the product since October.
“Obviously there’s people saying ‘You’re trying to make money out of fear,'” he said, via the Guardian, “but it’s the same way [vitamin C product] Emergen-C did. It’s not an emergency – it’s just Vitamin C.”
Another hoax claims that drinking bleach can cure one of the deadly virus.
This obviously isn’t true and drinking bleach in heavy doses can be potentially fatal or make one extremely sick.
Fortunately, there hasn’t been any reports of people drinking bleach to cure Ebola.
This hoax has been spread widely on social media in recent days.
Salt Water Cure
However, there have been at least two confirmed deaths in Africa of Ebola victims drinking salt water as a cure.
Some have claimed drinking salt water, which can also be fatal, will get rid of the virus.
The bogus claims have spread mainly in West African countries like Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.