EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The FBI is warning the health care industry of an increased potential for fraudulent activity dealing with the purchase of COVID-19 related medical equipment.
Officials said 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 and/or of which they’ve never heard, and when relying on unidentified third-party brokers in the supply chain.
The FBI advises to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, to include:
- Unusual payment terms (e.g., supplier asking for up-front payments or proof of payment)
- Last-minute price changes
- Last-minute excuses for delay in the shipment (e.g., claims that the equipment was seized at a port or stuck in customs)
- Unexplained source of bulk supply
The FBI said 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, to please report it.
You can submit a tip to the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov
If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the FBI urges everyone to be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.
The FBI also says for people to be alert for counterfeit products like sanitizing products and personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full-face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.
More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at cdc.gov/niosh.
Counterfeit products can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.