If you’re bitten by a mosquito that’s carrying the zika virus, it can make you very sick. If you’re a pregnant woman, the disease could lead to serious birth defects. “It could be a matter of life and death now, if you’re using things that just don’t work,” advises Joseph Conlon, technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association. Things that just don’t work:
- Ultrasonic bug repellers
- Vitamin B patches
- Mosquito shield wristbands
Things that work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents
- long sleeves
- spending time indoors
- sleeping under a bed net
With these facts under our belts, on March 25 2017 let’s turn to BuyZikaShield.com, another enterprise of the Minneapolis scam factory I’ve been writing about. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about illegal advertising; I’m talking about signs that a seller is a scammer (someone who takes your money by trickery or theft). I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true, +1 means false, and 0 means undetermined.
Ridiculous claims: -1.
- The package advertises 12 hours of protection. But that’s longer than any of the most effective products rated by Consumer Reports.
- The 75% discount is a red flag for a web scam.
Post Office box: 0. 225 Thomas Ave. N. Suite R – Minneapolis MN 55405 is a real place. But it’s shared by a whole clutch of other web enterprises, and that doesn’t look good.
Onerous terms: -1.
- In order to return the product, you have to phone ahead for an authorization number and arrange for delivery within 30 days from your order–not from the date you receive the product. You pay a $10 restocking fee.
- They don’t guarantee that the product is suitable for any use; nor that anything they say is true.
- You can’t sue them, or join a class action that’s suing them.
Ads, spam, robocalls: -1
- They’ll use the information you give them plus what they can suck out of your browser to beam ads at you, spam you, junk-mail, robocall and text you. You’re supposed to be able to opt out.
- They’ll share your information with other companies that will do the same.
- In order to see the prices and the terms, you have to give them your name and email address. If you don’t buy anything, they can spam you anyway.
- If you registered on a Do Not Call list, ha ha Ha ha ha!
Lying and deception: -1.
- The website video shows an unattributed map of zika sweeping over the continental US. Compare it to a map provided by Consumer Reports in an article dated april, 2016.
- They advertise a “100% satisfaction guarantee.” But in the terms and conditions they say there is no guarantee?
- On the order form, a quantity of five packages ($100) is already checked.
Obfuscation: -1. The frenzied, Jittery mashup of scare stories hopes to stampede you into buying the stuff. What little information is here flashes by at the end of the video, too fast to read.
Phony reviews: 0. For the patch product being hawked here, none found. FakeSpot found that 60% of the Amazon customer reviews for Zika Shield’s band product were phony.
Crummy product: 0. there’s no way to know; but we can guess. What are the ingredients? Is it registered with the EPA? What are you supposed to do with the patches?
Overpriced: -1. A box contains 30 patches, and is priced at $50 or $56. Compare that to a 4 ounce spray bottle of Picaridin, the top rated insect repellent, at $8.25. I’m an active outdoorsman, and I’ve found that one bottle of repellent lasts for years.
Unauthorized charges: +1. I found no reports of this.
Final score; -5
It’s unlikely that you’ll run into a zika-laden mosquito north of the Rio Grande. Still, this disease is serious. You want to be careful with your body as well as your money.
These guys are asking for a lot of money for product that seems unlikely to work. You can get a good insect repellent at most sporting goods stores and pharmacies.
- The terms and conditions include a “Lifetime replacement plan”–But it’s for ProShot HDX phone lenses?
- The terms and conditions are confused about who the seller is; MobileOptiks? Military Supply USA? Or FlexWell?
- “Any items returned in non-fuctional condition will not be acceptable for a return.” 8)
- The order form shows different prices on different parts of the form.