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News & Updates

The Latest on Internet Pharmacies, Supplements, Designer Drugs,
and Other High-Risk Merchants

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Bogus Cures and Unapproved Treatments for COVID-19 Flood the Internet

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, the payments and e-commerce landscapes are especially vulnerable right now to scammers preying on consumers with fake cures, unapproved treatments, and other unconventional products and services to treat the new coronavirus. These scams are not only detrimental to public health but also pose serious risks of chargebacks…

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Price Gouging from Coronavirus Opportunists Poses Credit and Regulatory Risk

As the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus spreads, opportunistic scammers have begun taking advantage of panicked consumers through price gouging on basic healthcare products, such as hand sanitizer, face masks, and toilet paper. Many online merchants are now offering these products at drastic markups, ranging from three small bottles of hand sanitizer for $60…

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As Coronavirus Spreads, So Do Fake, Unapproved, and Ineffective Test Kits

LegitScript has been proactively monitoring the online space in response to the outbreak of the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, and has identified an increasing trend in the marketing of coronavirus-related products that present an elevated risk to consumers, payment service providers, and e-commerce platforms. In particular, the severe shortage of diagnostic kits to test…

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New Warning Letters Signal Forceful Approach to Containing Coronavirus Treatment Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday seven warning letters they issued jointly to business owners making potentially problematic claims that their products can treat or prevent the new coronavirus. These letters appear to reflect aggressive action by the federal agencies to stop businesses capitalizing on COVID-19 fears…

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North Carolina Man Receives Maximum Sentence for Selling Dangerous Chemical for Weight Loss

The US Department of Justice announced recently that North Carolina resident Barry Clint Wright was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his role in the online sale of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a substance abused by bodybuilders and other people for weight-loss purposes. Wright, 38, received the maximum statutory sentence for introducing an unapproved drug…

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What’s Fishy About Merchants Selling Fish Antibiotics?

In an attempt to source cheaper healthcare alternatives, some consumers have turned to risky behaviors, including medicating themselves with animal drugs. One type of product sold online that has high risk for this kind of misuse is fish antibiotics. Given that fish and humans share many of the same medicines (e.g., amoxicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, and…

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Etizolam Use Surges as Unapproved Xanax Alternative

Etizolam, also known as thienodiazepine, is related to a class of substances known as benzodiazepines. Typically sold in a powder or tablet form, etizolam has gained prominence in the illicit drug market in recent years due to its similarity to other popular benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” such as Xanax and Valium. Etizolam was originally developed for…

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Don’t Get Burned By Merchants Selling Ear Candles

Ear candling, also referred to as “coning,” is a popular practice believed to draw wax and other impurities out of the ear. Despite their widespread availability, these products are unapproved medical devices that can leave both consumers and payment service providers burned. Read on to find out what these products are and the regulatory framework…

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Laughing Gas: A Serious Matter for Consumers and Payment Service Providers

Nitrous oxide, a colorless and odorless gas, is becoming increasingly popular around the world as a party drug that goes by many names — “laughing gas,” “hippy crack,” and “whippets,” among others. LegitScript has noticed a growing trend of nitrous oxide appearing on websites and e-commerce platforms, being marketed in ways that indicate use for…

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Seizures Related to Vaping Highlight Risk of E-cigarette Merchants

The FDA said this week that it is investigating 127 incidents of people suffering from seizures after vaping. The news highlights the elevated risk e-cigarette products pose for legal violations, and why payment service providers should know about the many types of products and parts related to vaping to better monitor their portfolios.  The FDA’s…

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