Tips for Buying PPE Online
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends ignoring texts, emails, robocalls, or calls about checks from the government. At the time, there are no proven treatments for COVID-19 and it is best to avoid online offers for vaccinations and at-home test kits. Be very cautious of emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO.
Before purchasing PPE online, make sure to follow these proactive measures identified by the FBI:
- Verify the email. Keep an eye out for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov to get the latest information. Make sure to not click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Verify the URL and web address. When ordering PPE from online retailers, always verify the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and confirm “https” in the web address, as a lack of security certification (“https”) may be an indicator that the site is insecure or compromised.
- Verify the list of approved manufacturers. Consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) NIOSH website to view a list of all NIOSH approved manufacturers of N95 respirator masks and validate approval and certification numbers.
- Confirm the approval status and certification numbers. Confirm N95 respirator mask approval status and certification numbers using the NIOSH flyer, the NIOSH website, or the CDC website, which includes examples of identified counterfeit or unapproved N95 respirator masks.
- Consult the manufacturer for authenticity. If procuring other categories of PPE such as gowns, gloves, goggles, and face shields, consult the manufacturer to verify authenticity and availability.
- Be extra cautious. Be wary of unprompted solicitations to purchase large quantities of PPE and do not provide usernames, passwords, personal identifying information (PII) such as social security number and date of birth, or financial information in response to an email or robocall.
Report a Scam
If you come across a website that is illegal, you can report the business to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker. They will then investigate the business, and you can help warn other individuals by reporting the scam.