The epidemic has led to new frauds. Consumers said they ordered rapid test kits or quote "miracle drug" for COVID-19 online and received nothing but junk.
The advertisement says that the new COVID-19 special oral drug was urgently launched, with a cure rate of 89 percent, and can effectively reduce hospitalization and mortality. The production is limited to 10,000 boxes and comes with free shipping. Buyers received an empty box full of waste paper instead. Additionally, an advertisement for the sale of quick screening tests appeared on Facebook. A box with five tests only costs NT$450. Buyers thought they were cheap, but after paying the money, they instead received two water tumblers. The website has already been deleted. The epidemic has raised the number of frauds. Taichung City police have constantly received fraud reports from the public.
Hsieh Chih-yuan, Captain, Economic Section, Criminal Investigation Corps, Taichung: “People reported a fraud syndicate selling special drugs for COVID through a one-page ad. The ad links to a fake website, tricking people into buying. Customers later receive an empty box full of waste paper.”
The Taichung City Government stated that the goods sold do not match what's advertised on the website. In addition to criminal fraud, drugs and medical equipment cannot be sold on the internet. According to the Medical Devices Act, violators face a prison term of up to three years and a fine of not exceeding NT$10 million. A fine of NT$30,000 to NT$1 million may be further imposed on sellers who fail to obtain the qualification of a medical equipment dealer.
Lin Huang-chun, Leader, Cosmetics Section, Office of Food and Drug Safety, Taichung: “When purchasing medical equipment, you should clearly see if the medical device license number is on the product packaging, product name, and other Chinese labels. And read the product manual carefully before using it.”
The police reminded that one-page fraud ads usually only leave e-mail or communication software accounts, with no company address or phone number. The product's price is significantly lower than the market price, and most of the webpage is mixed with simplified characters. If you receive something that does not match the product indicated on the website, you should report it to the home delivery provider as soon as possible, and call the seller on the delivery note to ask for a return.