As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold with the crisis said to enter the second phase, the majority of people are doing their best to make sure that they are not infected. New cases are being discovered every day around the world and different countries are putting back the protective measures in place to curtail the spread of the virus and to reduce the number of cases.
The majority of these countries are doing their best to ensure compliance from their citizens by enacting regulations and laws that will facilitate the act of wearing facemasks in the public, maintaining physical and social distances, and washing the hands daily and frequently with soap and water or sanitizing the hand with hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent of alcohol.
This is in agreement with recommendations from health regulating agencies such as the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), and the United States Food and Drug Agency (FDA).
These agencies have further advised that face masks be worn in public spaces and that people should try to reserve the medical face masks and N95 respirators for medical personnel and emergency first responders who are combating the virus daily. People are advised to put on cloth coverings or facemasks which can prevent the wearer from being exposed.
Nevertheless, the demand for these special facemasks is increasing every day with countries queuing to get their share of the supply. Also, countries that can produce are trying to motivate their producing companies to ramp up production to meet up with the increasing demand of the population.
Also, some other factors are obstructing the smooth supply of goods from genuine producers to the final consumers. One of the factors is the problem with the supply chain in terms of mismanagement and misrepresentation. Some countries are suspected to be increasing their figures to get a substantial amount of facemask delivery.
Another problem is the fact some of these supplies later end up in the wrong hands. There have been reports of some stockpiles of facemasks seen with some consumers. Also, some of these stockpiles are being stored in the storeroom of some institutions with no genuine reason for doing so. Some of these were discovered by security agents and have been retrieved, then allocated to sites where they are needed.
The worst of the problems is the entry of unscrupulous individuals into the business of facemask production and supply. Due to the high demand for facemasks and the potential to generate high profits, lots of scammers are trying their possible best to scam people out of their hard-earned money. Some of the genuine facemasks are also being sold out at exorbitant prices by these set of people.
The situation is dire as each country of the world as well as their citizens are competing to buy face masks especially the high-quality ones like the N95 masks to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It is very sad because so many have become victims of these scammers.
Tips to help avoid being scammed
Before getting your purchase done, it is good to note that you should not be in haste to complete the transactions. Most of these scammers try to hasten up customers to part way with their money before the ruse is discovered. Here are some tips that will help as you try to get your supply:
Check out the company: You can try to find out about the company or the product being sold by typing the name in a search engine with terms such as review, complaint, and scam. Find out what other people are saying about the company and the product. Also, read the seller’s description of the product very well. Note, if the price of the good is steeply discounted, when compared to the value of a similar product, it might just be a fake product.
Evaluate the terms of the sale: Try to calculate the total purchase price, including taxes, shipping, and handling. Find out when you should expect your delivery. By law, your product should be delivered to you within the time stated in its ads or within 30 days if the ads didn’t state a particular time. Also, check when you have to return the item, whether you will get a refund or not. And, if it will be possible, who will pay for the return shipping. Also, check if there is a restocking fee.
Pay by credit card: If you pay for your products using a credit card, you will get protected under federal law. The law protects you so that you will not have to pay for a product that you ordered but didn’t get. In the case where a business charged your account too soon and did not deliver the product on time, you can dispute the billing error and report it to your credit card company.
If there is any issue with your online purchase, you can first of all try to work it out with the seller and you also retain the right to dispute a billing error directly with your credit card issuer. If you suspect a scam, you can duly report to appropriate authorities such as CDC and NIOSH or the Federal Trade Commission.
Worst facemasks con artist out there
Some con artists are trying their best to scam buyers out there. These are a set of people that sell counterfeit facemasks but packaged them in a way very similar to those approved by NIOSH. These respirators are neither certified by the NIOSH nor do they meet up with the standard performance criteria as set up by NIOSH.
There are some of these con artists who produce and advertise that their facemasks can protect against some specific infectious agent as well as offer a certain percentage level of protection with such mask not doing such. In another instance, these scammers advertise their products as being approved by NIOSH and cleared by the FDA when nothing of such did happen.
Some of them were once approved by the NIOSH and cleared by the FDA but had their approval revoked because they could not maintain an acceptable quality control plan. But, these people continue to mislead the public by advertising their product as if they are still approved and certified by NIOSH.
Another group of these scammers modifies the mask after it has been certified. Their models were certified but the aftermarket products are not approved. This is because any slight modification to a certified respirator affects its fit, form, and function, thereby annulling the NIOSH certification.
There is also the problem of the use of counterfeit replacement parts. Every NIOSH approved face mask is tested. The test covers all the individual components being a part of the system to make sure each component is functioning properly and meets up with the stringent quality control requirements. It is good to know how to recognize the approved replacement parts.
To be able to fish out the counterfeit from the original and to know if the respiratory you are using is NIOSH certified or not, try to find out more on the NIOSH and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) site. To also find out the list of counterfeit face mask manufacturers as identified by the CDC, visit here.
ConclusionThere are a lot of scammers out there trying to make an illegal profit to the detriment of the lives of their victims. It, therefore, becomes a necessity to be able to identify genuine facemasks as defined by NIOSH. This will help by saving from unnecessary stress and wasting limited resources.