The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seen a rise in fraud schemes and is warning members to research companies before purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) online. It suggests watching for the following:
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment
Be alert to counterfeit products such as PPE and sanitizing products, including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns and gloves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared the following links related to PPE to assist healthcare providers:
- Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Burn Rate Calculator
- NPPTL Respirator Assessments to Support the COVID-19 Response
- Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators
- Factors to Consider When Planning to Purchase Respirators from Another Country
- NIOSH-Approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators
Fake CDC Emails
Watch out for emails claiming to be from the CDC or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.
Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
- Charitable contributions.
- General financial relief.
- Airline carrier refunds.
- Fake cures and vaccines.
- Fake testing kits.
More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website and the Environmental Protection Agency website. Report counterfeit products at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and to The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.