5 Ways Terrible Human Beings Are Profiting From Ebola
With Ebola panic hitting the international media with the intensity of a hundred celebrity nip-slips, people around the world have naturally started asking themselves questions like, "Is my family safe from Ebola?" and, "How can I ride this flood of diseased body fluids until I'm filthy rich?"
We've already talked about how Ebola probably isn't going to take off in America, but it turns out we're already infected with a much more widespread virus: shameless opportunism. That's why we're seeing Ebola-related commercial ventures like ...
Cam'ron Is Selling His Official Anti-Ebola Mask
Cam'ron is a rapper best known for hating the letter "E" and "Hey Ma," which is the greatest mediocre rap song of all time. Anyway, last week Mr. 'ron took that e-hatred to its logical extreme when he started selling an anti-Ebola mask that he created.
"And be sure to get my Cam'ron Con'doms for those STDs, too."
Nope, that's not a joke -- you can buy a mask featuring a classy image of Cam'ron in what appears to be the bunny suit from A Christmas Story right now, for just $19.99. Wear it the next time someone with Ebola comes to visit and you'll ... be exactly as protected from the virus as you'd be without the mask, since (once again) Ebola isn't airborne. And just in case you still think this could be an elaborate prank, here's how the wordsmith himself explained it:
"Free to anyone who bought Crime Pays. Sorry."
Maybe the logic here is that wearing a mask with Cam'ron on it makes you immediately repulsive to all living things, healthy or sick. In that case, this genius invention actually makes you impervious to all diseases. Shit, we can see now why, according to him, he sold 3,000 of these masks in four days. Nothing depressing about that, nope.
Scammers Are Creating Fake "Stop Ebola" Charities
In times of tragedy, the Internet can be a great tool to help those in need ... or, you know, do the exact opposite of that. For example, just a day after that second nurse in Texas tested positive for Ebola, citizens of the Internet pulled together to help her through a crowdfunding campaign. Unfortunately, a day after that the nurse's family announced that the campaign was about as legitimate as Donald Trump's hair. (Here's the family's real campaign, for the record.)
That's just one of the many ways Internet scammers are actively trying to screw anyone who wants to donate to the cause of kicking Ebola's butt. If you were wondering where your Nigerian prince pen pal has gone lately, don't worry: he didn't disappear, he just switched jobs to "head of a fake charity organization" -- like the Ebola Global Aid Centre, which asks you to send money to "safe this affected West Africa countries from extinct" because "Ebola phobia is the beginning of wisdom in West Africa." Yeah, we have no idea how these people have been spending all the money they've conned out of people over the years, but it probably isn't on English lessons.
Other scammers aim even higher and claim to be the World Health Organization itself, personally begging you to save a dodgy file on your computer in order to find out how to avoid catching a virus. Unless the file is actually a text document saying "Don't save dodgy files on your computer," that's probably not true.
This is clearly fake, everyone knows the WHO's email-signature picture is a unicorn with a Jesus quote.
Investor Sites Are Giving Advice on Ebola-Related Stock
In a move that would make even the characters from The Wolf of Wall Street look at present-day stock traders with utter disgust, the current panic has given birth to the idea of Ebola stocks: strategic investments to cash in on the outbreak. Jeff Reeves of InvestorPlace.com helpfully informs us of the best five companies to pour your hard-earned dough into now that Ebola has its Green Card, including pharmaceuticals and makers of hazmat suits. After all, if someone in the world is gonna profit from people's misery, why can't you get a piece of the action?
"And if there's no mass death, you can get your money back with Breaking Bad Halloween costumes."
The article starts off by admitting that making money from Ebola sounds like "vulture mentality," and then goes ahead and tells you how to do it anyway, because the "I'm not racist, but ..." strategy never failed anyone. Of the five companies the article names, the hazmat suits one did quadruple the price of its shares after Texas had its first confirmed Ebola case, with 247WallSt.com promising investors: "As fears of Ebola continue to ramp up, hazmat suits will continue to be in demand."
But those stocks quickly fell again as the full-on apocalypse failed to unleash itself. Aww. There's always global warming, you guys.
People Are Making Up Ebola Cures for Money (or Just Because)
Viable medical supplies are the second-most-important thing to fighting the advancement of any virus outbreak (the most important is Dustin Hoffman, as we learned in the movie Outbreak). However, in Nigeria some unscrupulous businesspeople didn't bother with the "viable" part, which you may recognize as essential to how medical products work -- over 100 brands of fake medicaments were confiscated by the Nigerian authorities last month. Between the virus, the scammers, and the fake drugs, the country has basically become a physical representation of our junk mail folder.
Those who tested them didn't feel better, but did report longer-lasting boners.
The medicaments included: fake Ebola testing kits, out-of-date hand sanitizer, and a plant called Ewedu, which sounds like what we say when we puke in the middle of a sit-up.
And while some were making up Ebola cures for money, others were apparently doing it just for kicks: the World Health Organization reported that at least two people in Nigeria died from drinking salt water, because they heard it prevented the virus. These rumors can spread through social media, and the WHO has had to take to Twitter to fight them:
"No, eating Dustin Hoffman to gain his power doesn't help."
Even when the "cures" aren't dangerous by themselves, they carry the additional problem of making people feel invincible in areas where they sure as hell aren't. So, yeah, that's how desperate folks are to make money from Ebola: they won't just steal money from others, they'll also actively risk people's lives. If there's any consolation to all this, it's that at least we're not at the point where people are trafficking and shooting-up survivors' blood ...
There's an Illegal Trade in Survivor Blood
As you probably know, with most viral infections, if you survive your blood will contain antibodies to fight that particular strain of the virus. Now, take that knowledge, strain it through a fine mesh of poop-coated evil, and what do you get? Survivors' blood is being sold on the black market in West Africa.
And you thought getting the straw in a Capri Sun was a pain in the ass.
Yep, the same channel that supplies your cocaine supplements and your ivory back-scratchers is peddling some poor folks' blood as a cure to an increasingly panicky people. Aside from the horrible implications of where they're getting it, antibody treatment is a helluva lot more complicated than just shooting-up blood like some sort of hobo-vampire. As well as not being a miracle cure, it also comes with the problem of potentially dishing out diseases like HIV and hepatitis to the ignorant buyers. It's like someone trying to cure your acne by rubbing your face with a handful of black mambas.
Again, please read 5 Reasons America Can Calm the F#@% Down About Ebola. And for further cockamamie-ness, see our infinity-part series on B.S. News Stories That Went Viral.