A medicine dropper bottle on a background of the coronavirus

The convicted fraudster televangelist selling a “Silver Solution” that was claimed to destroy the coronavirus was certainly jarring. But what really got me was the listing on Amazon offering a basic brimmed hat with a piece of plastic to cover your face—or, as the listing put it, “Anti-COVID-19 All-Purpose Face Shield”—for a sum of $40. (At least it came with free shipping.)

The U.S. is currently gripped by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and hucksters galore are doing whatever they can to sling bogus products touting unbelievable claims to combat the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have already targeted several companies for doing so—including that televangelist, Jim Bakker, and another who’d marketed products through the plainly named URL coronavirusdefense.com.

But the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. On Tuesday, the National Enquirer drew outrage across social media after a reporter for The New York Times published a photo on social media of the tabloid’s latest cover. It carried this claim: “Coronavirus Cures Finally Found!”

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Not so. The FDA makes it clear that, “There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Clearly, though, the government has its work cut out in the coming weeks and months to not only curb the spread of COVID-19 but also prevent companies from selling bogus products. 

But just how widespread is the problem? How many snake-oil salesmen come out of the woodwork during a public health scare to prey on a fearful and anxious public? And for everyday essentials, how common is price gouging? I want to know.

Particularly, I’m looking for products that carry claims—as the FDA puts it—“to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” And I want to get a sense of how often consumers are coming across common products like masks, bottled water, and toilet paper getting sold at exorbitant prices. 

Have you seen such a product online or in person? Has a friend or relative? We want to hear from you. If you prefer, contact Consumer Reports securely. Otherwise, you can share your story below.