Sadly, many criminals have jumped at the opportunity to make money from the COVID crisis. One of the most malicious ways that they have done this is by selling fake N95 masks.
Fake respirators not only steal money from those who are already pinched financially by the crisis, but they also put them, their families, and customers at risk. They are quite literally putting their health and lives at risk with these scams.
So, how can you spot a real N95 mask from a fake one? Where can you find authentic protection?
Whenever there is a big need and demand, criminals seem to move in. They never like to miss an opportunity to make a quick buck at the expense of others.
Tragically, we have seen this pop up in many ways during the COVID pandemic crisis. We’ve seen fake vaccine cards and big PPP loan scams.
Price gouging has also been a widespread issue. It seems that “COVID” is to blame for everything. Whenever a business can squeeze out a couple of extra dollars by not providing a service, they blame COVID. Whenever they want to bring in more money and profit, they blame COVID. Many have been trying to charge 30% more for their services, for sending out the same automated email bills and taking automatic payments from customers’ accounts.
Still, PPE scams seem to be among the most dangerous and vicious. Not only do they cause consumers, businesses, and taxpayers to waste money, but they fool them into thinking they are safe and well protected, when in fact, they are not.
The Hill and the US Department of Homeland Security report that around 3 million fake N95 masks may have already been sold in the US. In many cases, these counterfeits were even sold to medical clinics, hospitals, and government agencies.
One of the most recent COVID scams is a Houston, TX resident who attempted to fraudulently sell 50 million masks to the Australian government for $317M.
He was recently sentenced to 54 months in federal prison.
The CDC’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) lists the counterfeit respirators it has discovered from 2019 through 2021 on its website, as well as detailing what to watch out for to avoid being the victim of mask scams.
Signs of fakes include:
- Lack of markings on the respirator
- Missing approval numbers
- No NIOSH name or logo
- Decorative masks
- Claiming they are approved for young children under 2
- Having ear loops instead of headbands
NIOSH is the federal entity charged with vetting and certifying legitimate N95 and N99 respirator masks.
In addition to having headbands (not ear loops), a real mask should include the patented NIOSH name or logo and their NIOSH approval number.
The CDC also lists every officially approved manufacturer, supplier, and individual product, along with their instructions for wearers on their website.
If in doubt, you can always check this out and search by the company name.
Going even further, it is only wise to buy N95 masks directly from these approved vendors and their own websites.
Individuals, families, and businesses all need to ensure that they have adequate supplies of N95 masks on hand.
Even though some areas may be relaxing some mask mandates, some people in certain situations, still need them. There is also no telling when those mandates will return and be expanded. Recent studies have also shown that this level of respiration protection is the most effective in order to avoid transmission and infection of viruses like COVID.
You just never know when you are going to need them to travel, work, or shop for essentials.
Businesses are also under incredible pressure to ensure they have plenty of N95s on hand. Each worker should still have a new, fresh mask for each shift of work. You do not want to face shutdowns or fines for non-compliance for lack of this one item. The costs are just too high.
Hoarding is bad. It only causes more scarcity and drives up prices for everyone. Though it is best to plan ahead and be sure to have enough new N95s on hand for the weeks ahead, and unexpected emergencies. According to the WHO, the pandemic is far from over and it is still best to have supplies on hand and in stock.
Bielcor is one of the few CDC and NIOSH-approved N95 and N99 respirator providers. Each mask product is individually certified with its own NIOSH approval number.
You can choose from several best-selling, high-quality, and affordable designs for your unique needs and preferences directly at Bielcor.com.
Check out convenient 12 and 20 packs of your favorites and get fast shipping to wherever you are at.
Watch out for COVID scams. They can literally rob you of your health, life, and livelihood.
The best way to avoid face mask scams is to know what authentic masks look like and the features to look for. Then, make sure you are only ordering them directly from approved suppliers such as Bielcor.com