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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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August 17, 2017

***CONSUMER ALERT***
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN WARNS ILLINOIS RESIDENTS TO SCAMS TIED TO UPCOMING SOLAR ECLIPSE

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today issued a consumer alert warning Illinois residents to 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.

On Monday, the solar eclipse will be visible to millions of Americans, particularly southern Illinois residents near Makanda, Ill., the epicenter of the eclipse. The nearby city of Carbondale is expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors to view the eclipse. Except for a brief period when the moon covers the sun in total, NASA urges anyone watching the eclipse to wear “eclipse glasses” that have special solar filters to prevent unsafe exposure to sunlight. In the lead up to the eclipse, fake glasses have reportedly flooded the market and led to consumers across the country receiving refunds for glasses that do not meet the safety standard for viewing the 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 you 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 offers the following advice to safely watch the eclipse:

  • 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.

To report a scam tied to the solar eclipse, contact Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Hotlines below or file a complaint on her website:

1-800-386-5438 (Chicago)
1-800-243-0618 (Springfield)
1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)

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