Although the pandemic is nearing its end with the development of the vaccine, to the date (March 5, 2021) approximately 450,000 new daily cases are being reported in the world. This means that the demand for PPE is still higher than "usual". Some companies have tried to use the market needs to their advantage despite not having the proper permits to produce such medical products. On top of that, the current situation makes it harder for regulatory entities such as the FDA, to keep under control the quality standards stipulated for PPE and Medical Supplies production.
Unscrupulous companies are offering products that do not offer the necessary protection or in order to save production costs, they use cheap and toxic materials that put the health of those who use them, as well as the environment, at risk. Of course none of this information it’s being disclosed in the packages, and a lot of them use the FDA mark without actually having that certificate.
Recently, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) warned of scams and frauds to PPE and other Medical goods.
The continued shortages have launched a lucrative global market for these materials that can only be described as the "Wild West," with all-too-many examples of illegal price gouging, fraudulent and counterfeit products being seized by overwhelmed government officials, and instances of customers paying millions of dollars for large shipments of vital medical products that sadly have ended up being fake and too dangerous to use. This situation is also complicated by the fact that manufacturers and suppliers of the PPE are located in many jurisdictions including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which often have different business and legal cultures.
How to identify a fake product or a scam?
Whether you are interested in retail or wholesale shopping. The most important thing is to look at the history of the company, sales channels, product description, and costs. We also recommend buying through official channels, that is, directly on the company’s website. Unfortunately on Amazon, there is no good product control. But, if you still prefer to buy there (we get it, makes everything easier) we recommend you to go and check if the company has a website. This is a useful step as anyone can buy fake products and resell them on Amazon.
If you are interested in buying or selling wholesale, it is necessary to make the previous verifications in addition to making sure that the communication channels are official (not personal emails) and additionally use reliable and secure payment methods.
Why is this important?
Well, as individuals we might be tempted to “save” money when it comes to PPE, especially as not everyone has the privilege to purchase the “safest” (most of the times, the most expensive). But in the long term, getting the cheapest can turn out to be the opposite and do more harm than was expected.