Home News COVID-19 Situation FBI warns of bogus medical equipment offers

FBI warns of bogus medical equipment offers

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The Federal Bureau of Investigations has become aware of many scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis by attempting to obtain personal identification and financial information or to obtain money. Now it is warning the health care industry of an increased potential for fraudulent activity dealing with the purchase of COVID-19-related medical equipment.

Based on the current stress on the supply chain, scammers may promise equipment they do not have access to in order to capitalize on the medical community’s urgent needs.

The FBI asks the medical community to exercise due diligence and appropriate caution when dealing with any vendors with whom they have never worked or that they’ve never heard of, and when relying on unidentified third-party brokers in the supply chain.

Suspicious activity could include unusual payment terms (supplier asking for up-front payments or proof of payment); last-minute price changes; last-minute excuses for delay in shipments; unexplained source of bulk supply.

If you think you have information of suspicious activity by a vendor, or believe you were a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, please report it online at tips.fbi.gov. People also can contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at disaster@leo.gov.

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Additionally, the FBI urges everyone to be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products like sanitizing products and personal protective equipment (PPE), including N-95 respirator masks, goggles, full-face shields, protective gowns and gloves.

More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at cdc.gov/niosh. You also can find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website and the Environmental Protection Agency website. Counterfeit products can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.