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Coronavirus-related scams on the rise

4 / 24 / 2020

The world is now fighting against the virus and some scammers are trying to take advantage of it. From fakes masks to counterfeit certifications and even bogus factories.

Government agencies are now desperately looking for all kind of medical protective equipment from mask to gloves, goggles, faceshield and coverall or rubber boots. They have now become a crucial component in the worldwide battle against coronavirus. Unfortunately some scammers are also trying to take advantage of the situation.

These products can be disastrous for the wellbeing of medical workers as they lack the specifications that would prevent viruses or bacteria from entering into breathing passages. But they can also potentially be disastrous for you, as the importer from ruining your reputation, to having an unsellable stock or even facing some criminal charges in some cases.

Let’s see what those scams were and how V-Trust can help you.

Some example around the world:

  • Interpol (The International Criminal Police Organization) last week warned (beginning of April) of a spike in fake masks and other medical supplies, describing a 90-nation operation that resulted in 121 arrests and the seizure of 14million USD worth of “potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals”.
  • In Palestine, 6 factories were caught manufacturing unlicensed face masks and hand sanitizers. Despite being sold at a skyrocketing price, these products were unlicensed and carried fake labels.
  • In Turkey, no later than last week, police seized1 million masks manufactured in textile factories with unsterile conditions and substandard environment for such sensitive products.
  • China’s supplier’s network is now trying to help the world, factories that once manufactured other items are now in the business of making anti-coronavirus gear (Foxconn, the main assembler of Apple, for example). But such shift is hard to regulate, enforcing standard while encouraging the flow at the same time is not an easy task.

As a local inspection company with over 3000 customers we heard about such situation. Below are some of the situations that already happened:

  • Forged certificates --> very common
  • Bogus company, your contact will ghost you as soon as he has received the deposit --> on the rise
  • Production subcontracted to another factory without proper production capabilities --> on the rise
  • Products sold with a lower standard that agreed on (for example Surgical mask type 1 while Type 3 was stated on the contract) --> trickier to notice at first.

We have a video with some tips on how to inspect masks. You can easily perform these tips:

Our video includes

  1. Mask size check
  2. Color Shading check
  3. Strip strength check
  4. Internal check (how many ply, 2 or 3 plies)
  5. Waterproof check
  6. Fabric weight check

Here are also some tips to help you check the test report or certificate’s validity,

  • Check if the applicant name or manufacturer name is correct .
  • Check if the test standard is correct. For your reference, in EU, the test standard for FFP1/FFP2/FFP3 masks is EN149, while the test standard for masks TYPE Ia/TYPE II/TYPE IIR is EN14683; in the US, requirement is FDA 878.4040 for FXX masks & NIOSH for N95, N99, etc.
  • Check if the test report was actually issued by the lab. You can usually check it directly from the lab website by typing the test report number.
  • Check if the lab that issued the test report/certificate is actually accredited or not:
    1. For Chinese labs, you could check if the lab is accredited via below link by CNAS.
    2. For EU NB labs, you could check if the lab is accredited via below link.

For example, the factory sends one NB certificate for EN149 while you could not find that the lab is accredited for PPE like below. Then it means that the lab is not accredited to issue this NB certificate.

The above checking criteria can be included in V-Trust Factory Audit Service (USD398.00/man day) and Shipment Inspection Service (USD268.00/man day).

One more important thing, for any buyers from EU, there are also four steps to confirm whether a certification company is a formal PPE CE certification body and can carry out CE certification activities for protective masks. We have made a comprehensive article about these 4 steps in another article, here.

Our audit service not only include checking certificates but also: Factory Profile (General Information) Production Process, Facilities & Machinery, R&D Organization Structure, Production Capacity, Quality assurance and Special Requirements from our customer.

Should you have any question, please feel free to contact us at any time. Always happy to help.

About us.

V-Trust Inspection Service is an independent third-party inspection company founded in 2003 with a sound inspection network covering China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. Our 300+ full-time inspectors are well trained, reliable and experienced in inspection for a wide product range. In 2019, more than 3,000 importers and buyers all over the world benefited from V-Trust inspection services, and we conducted over 5,800 inspections per month.

As in any other countries where V-Trust operate, all our V-Trust Vietnam inspectors are our full time inspectors only, hired by us, trained by us and working for us only. V-Trust also has a local office based in Ho-Chi-Minh city, happy to welcome you for a meeting!


V-Trust team
Vietnam Country Manager
MBA in Grenoble Business School (TOP 6 French Business School)
5 year experience in Quality Control industry
Multiple languages speaking (French, English, Spanish, Mandarin)


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