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LITTLE ROCK -- As the pandemic continues and Arkansans attempt to get back on their feet, scam artists see opportunity uncertainty the virus has caused, according to the Arkansas attorney general's office.

A new scam has been identified that targets the Hispanic population in Arkansas where businesses are charging exorbitant amounts of money for COVID-19 tests and for "immunity boosts" that will prevent or treat COVID-19, with no credible proof from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control or the Arkansas Health Department, the attorney general's office said in a news release.

"Snake oil salesmen are taking advantage of vulnerable Arkansans by using fear to sell their expensive immunity boosts with some over $3,000," Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in the release. "When a vaccine is approved by the federal government, the information will be shared far and wide, but until then Arkansans are urged to avoid anyone peddling fake, expensive COVID-19 cures."

"Rutledge is currently investigating Arkansas companies, including chiropractic and medical practices, that are peddling preventatives, treatments and cures for COVID-19 that are not approved by the FDA. These are often advertised as 'immunity boosting' treatments. Unfortunately, there are currently no cures, treatments, lotions, or potions to treat COVID-19," the release said.

The attorney general's office offered the following tips for consumers about fraudulent COVID-19 cures and treatments:

• Avoid paying exorbitant fees for COVID-19 tests. Instead, visit the Arkansas Department of Health's website to find locations of mass testing and clinics offering COVID-19 tests at no cost to consumers.

• Be cautious of health providers who claim they can cure, prevent, or lessen the effects of COVID-19 while charging high fees for their false claims.

For information about COVID-19, including where to find testing locations, call the Arkansas Department of Health at 800-803-7847.

Find accurate information about COVID-19, including information about how it spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, what to do when sick, and frequently asked questions, on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

Anyone who has been scammed by a business or suspect a scam related to the COVID-19 cures can contact the Arkansas attorney general's office at 800-482-8982, email [email protected], or visit http://www.ArkansasAG.gov.

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