We know that certain events bring out the scammers and con-men. This summer's weather activities like torrential rains, heavy winds, and flash flooding was like a beacon for those who make a living grifting people out of their hard-earned money. But, eclipse scammers? Really? Yes.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today issued a consumer alert warning Illinois residents about reports of scam artists selling counterfeit solar eclipse glasses to try to take advantage of the many people planning to watch the upcoming total solar eclipse.

“Be aware that you could get blindsided by a blatant scam when you purchase eclipse glasses,” Madigan said. “Take time to investigate glasses before your purchase them so you can safely enjoy this remarkable event.”
Only eclipse glasses that carry a specific safety standard are safe to use to watch the eclipse. The American Astronomical Society provides a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers that are verified to meet the safety standard for the glasses. For more information, visit https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also weighs in with some advice to avoid being taken, and more importantly, avoid getting your eyes injured:

  • Make sure that the glasses or viewers you’re considering have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on the product and are certified as safe. The certification – marked with ISO 12312-2 – means the glasses and solar viewers have met an international safety standard and are safe for your eyes.
  • Be sure your glasses or viewers are new: glasses that are more than three years old, or are wrinkled or scratched, won’t protect your eyes.
  • Read – and follow – the instructions carefully. Don’t use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses.
  • Never look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers that are certified as safe (look for ISO 12312-2 to be printed on the product). It can lead to serious injury.
  • Don’t look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device – even using your eclipse glasses or viewer. Those optical devices concentrate the solar rays, will damage your eclipse glasses or viewer, and seriously injure your eyes.

If you're aware of any eclipse-related scams, you're urged to report it to the Attorney General's website.