Consumers who are visiting Web sites and receiving e-mail claiming to sell Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and other antibiotics to treat anthrax should consult a new Consumer Alert before they buy products online, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The Alert, "Offers to Treat Biological Threats: What You Need to Know," produced in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warns that fraudsters often follow the headlines, tailoring their offers to prey on consumers' fears and vulnerabilities. The Alert advises consumers to:
In addition, the FTC and FDA caution:
For more information from the federal government about treatments for anthrax, visit www.consumer.gov . For more information from the FDA, call toll-free 1-800-INFO-FDA or visit www.fda.gov . Information on bioterrorism and public health preparedness from the CDC is available at www.bt.cdc.gov and also by telephone at 1-800-311-3435. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumers issues, call the FTC, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov.
Copies of the Consumer Alert are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.