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Thread: Fake websites selling face masks, other medical equipment during COVID-19 crisis

  1. #1

    Exclamation Fake websites selling face masks, other medical equipment during COVID-19 crisis

    While some folks are trying to help others by being good samaritans, there also seems to be no short supply of price gougers, profiteers, counterfeit PPE sellers setting up fake websites to scam vulnerable people:

    BBB warning of fake websites selling face masks, other medical equipment during COVID-19 crisis

    By: Drew Scofield
    Apr 29, 2020

    CLEVELAND — The Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland is reminding Ohioans to make sure that they only shop at retailers they know and trust following reports of residents losing money to fake sellers who are hawking personal protection equipment online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    According to the BBB, a resident in Maple Heights placed an order for N95 masks through a company and paid for expedited shipping. After not receiving the order, the buyer became suspicious.

    The BBB states that the address actually belonged to an unrelated home, and the main photo on the website was ripped off from another website.

    Another person lost $200 after trying to buy masks from another seller. The BBB states, “These sites use tricks like limited-time deals to entice consumers into ordering more. Furthermore, unscrupulous websites like these open consumers up to additional risk from stolen personal information, such as credit card numbers.”

    “During times of economic uncertainty, consumers have to remain vigilant against scams,” said Sue McConnell, president of The Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland. “Scammers are lurking online waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.”

    The BBB recommends the following:

    • Homemade Masks are an option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have directions on how to make homemade face masks on its website. Some of these DIY instructions also include “no sew” masks made from t-shirts. Wearing facial coverings such as bandanas, scarfs, and handkerchiefs also help prevent person-to-person transmission of disease.

    • Only buy from reputable stores and websites. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to buy them directly from a seller you know and trust. Check to see what other consumers’ experiences have been.

    • Be sure the online store has working contact information. If a company seems legitimate but you aren’t familiar with it, be extra careful with your personal information. Before offering up your name, address, and credit card information, make sure the company is legitimate. A real street address, a working customer service number, a positive BBB Business Profile… these are just a few of the things to be looking out for to determine if a company is legitimate.

    • Be wary of stock photos. BBB has identified many suspected scam websites reusing the same stock photos. Use websites like and Google Image search to reverse search images online. If the same picture is used across multiple websites, be skeptical.

    • Research the seller. Fraud is prevalent online, and scammers can pose easily as legitimate merchants. Check the company’s website domain registration at You will see when the site was created and the country where the registration was created. It can be difficult to determine the reputation of a foreign company.


    Maker of 3M face masks files lawsuit in Canada over deceptive sales, gouging

    Alan Campbell / Richmond News April 24, 202

    One of the biggest manufacturers of face masks in the world – 3M- has filed a series of legal actions and is working with law enforcement around the world to fight fraud, price gouging and counterfeiting

    The American company said it was taking action this week to “protect the public from price gouging and fraud for respiratory protection equipment.”

    t filed legal action Tuesday in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, accusing defendants, Zhiyu Pu and Harmen Mander - directors of Caonic Systems, Inc – of affiliating themselves with 3M to sell N95 respirators at “exorbitant prices” during the pandemic.
    According to the law suit, the defendants registered on the Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify and, starting in March, sold respirators claiming to have originated from 3M certified suppliers in Singapore and the UK.
    On March 31, at 3M's request, Shopify closed the site.
    Caonic Systems immediately reopened another Shopify site as, and allegedly continued to claim an affiliation with 3M on social media.
    After Shopify shut the second site, Caonic apparently persisted, relaunching briefly on another platform.
    According to 3M, Caonic was selling the N95 respirators for $17.00 each, more than five times the appropriate retail price.

    29 Apr 2020

    Michigan Man Charged with N95 Mask Scam

    Sarah Coble

    The United States has brought charges against a Michigan man accused of creating a fake e-commerce company that sold N95 masks online but didn't deliver them to customers.

    Rodney L. Stevenson II has been charged with wire fraud for his operation of an e-commerce website that allegedly scammed customers into paying for protective face masks that they never received.

    The 24-year-old Muskegon resident sold "Anti-Viral N95" masks for more than $40 per mask through the website, controlled by the limited liability company EM General, created by Stevenson in September 2019. While some customers were fobbed off with emails containing excuses about shipping issues, others said they were sent cheap fabric masks that did not conform to N95 standards.

    N95s are particulate-filtering facepiece respirator masks that meet the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health N95 standard of air filtration, requiring them to filter at least 95% of airborne particles.

    Stevenson is accused of using stock photos from the internet to create an entirely fictitious professional management team for his e-commerce company. The nonexistent team was headed by CEO "Mike Thomas," whose identity Stevenson allegedly hid behind to send emails to customers who purchased masks, offering them more masks at a discount.

    Demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face masks, has gone through the roof since the outbreak of COVID-19 in almost every country in the world. Lockdown measures imposed in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus mean shoppers are turning to online stores to meet their PPE needs.

    "While sheltering in place, Americans are shopping on the internet like never before," said US Attorney David L. Anderson.

    “Hospitals, healthcare providers and everyday people are understandably anxious to obtain N95 masks, N99 filters and other PPE."

    Anderson described the alleged actions of Stevenson, who is accused of fraudulently profiting from a health crisis that has killed nearly 60,000 people in the United States alone, as a "consumer's nightmare."

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  3. #2
    pretty much why CDC really held off on asking people to wear them.

  4. #3
    Never be scammed . Buy your fake masks from me . Give me five dollars and I'll let you pretend you have one of my masks .

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