Fear can be used against consumers -- and a lot of people are afraid of the coronavirus.

Some companies are taking advantage of the uncertainty over the outbreak by charging too much for items that may help, or making dubious claims about ones that may not. That's a problem for Amazon.com (AMZN -1.04%), which has had to take aggressive steps to make sure its customers don't get taken advantage of.

A globe is wearing a mask that says coronavirus.

The CDC has said that regular, healthy people should not wear face masks. Image source: Getty Images.

What has Amazon done?

The online leader has removed over 1 million listings from its platform that were making misleading claims about coronavirus, and tens of thousands of items that violated its price-gouging policy, ABC News reported.

"We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic-need products during a global health crisis, and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers," a company spokesperson told the news organization. 

What can consumers do?

Be skeptical and check your sources. If a product actually protects people against coronavirus it will likely be well publicized. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will also issue information about various products and methods for keeping yourself as safe as possible.

The CDC, for example, does not recommend that people wear face masks unless they have the virus or have been told by a healthcare professional to wear one. Amazon is trying to do its part but you can help by using common sense, reading information from credible outlets, and not panicking.