The coronavirus pandemic might be wreaking havoc with most businesses, but for some, it's a chance to seize the moment and rack up riches.
It doesn’t take much online window shopping to find companies that have launched into the new micro-market created by fear of COVID-19. You can buy a face mask called the “Anti Corona Mask” — not to be confused with the “Special Anti Coronavirus Medicine Mask.” Elsewhere, you can purchase an air-purifying necklace that’s being advertised as a “weapon against coronavirus.” It’s not just companies pushing products on dubious websites. Some celebrities are cashing in too. Scott Disick, of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” fame, pushed out a line of T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the timely message "Wash Your Hands” -- which no one will see while you’re stuck inside.
While some are using the pandemic as their launchpad, a lucky few established businesses have found themselves perfectly poised to benefit from society’s newfound obsession with hygiene. Dan Barnes, one of the founders of a U.V. sanitizing device called Phone Soap, says the company experienced 3,000 percent growth in March alone.
For others hoping to get rich off the pandemic, there’s always good old scamming. Since January, the Federal Trade Commission has received more than 35,000 complaints connected to COVID-19, which have cost victims a total of more than 24 million dollars.
VICE News spoke with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to find out how she’s handling the uptick in virus-related fraud.