National Consumer News

Beware Zika mosquito repellent product scams


By Kaitlyn Chana, WJAX

Dozens of companies are marketing their products as “Zika-protectives” to entice buyers to fall for the latest craze. Many of these products have been declared scams. There are wristbands, patches and even devices that you plug into your wall to get rid of mosquitoes.

Christopher Bibbs with Anastasia Mosquito Control said these items aren’t new. Rather, he said, marketing companies have resurfaced a product that most likely didn’t work in the past.

“You get a crisis like this and you get marketing capitalized and ‘hey, remember we have this thing and now we can put this ‘It protects you from the Zika virus stamp’ on it,’” said Bibbs.

The local Better Business Bureau sent WJAX the following statement:

“BBB has not issued a formal warning and we have not heard of any scams locally, but that does not mean they are not on the horizon. Especially with the new cases that are not travel related. BBB wants to encourage consumers to do their research before spending their money on any mosquito treatment. Beware of gimmicky products advertised on social media and pop up ads for free with just shipping cost, once they have your credit card info they can charge you an arbitrary amount for the free trial. If they are going to have their home environment treated make sure they hire LICENSED professionals, check with the state department of agriculture to make sure they can use the chemicals they are applying. As always, check with the BBB before you do business with a company.”

Experts said topical repellents are the best defense to prevent mosquitoes from biting. They recommend wearing a bug spray with active ingredients like DEET or picaridin that have been proven to provide long-lasting protection.

There are some items that have been tested to work, but the conditions have to be just right and the products have to be worn properly.

“People ask us all the time, ’Do they really work?’ and I find that the vast majority of them unfortunately do not work,” said Bibbs.

Bibbs said if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

WJAX reached out to the Florida General Attorney’s Office and they sent us the following statement.

“We have not received any complaints about scams related to the Zika virus or mosquito repellant products; however, we are on the lookout for any scams that may emerge, and ask anyone who suspects someone is trying to take advantage of the situation to contact our office by calling 866-9NO-SCAM.”

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