7 Signs a PPE supplier is a fraud

Posted by Kingdavid Ozobodo on

The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating individual, business, and global impacts. With predictions that the situation would get worse before getting better, and despite the discovery and approval of novel COVID vaccines, there is still need for health workers and the general public to remain vigilant and adhere to COVID prevention protocols. There has been unprecedented demand across the globe for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – for disposable face masks, gloves and surgical gowns in particular. Unfortunately, the panic and huge demand have availed opportunists a chance to cash in and profit from people’s anxieties.

The federal government and federal agencies are taking aggressive measures to combat PPE-related fraud. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order under Section 102 of the Defense Production Act that prohibits the hoarding of medical items.

What is PPE Fraud?
PPE fraud covers a broad range of conduct but basically it involves supply of substandard, counterfeit or defective PPE products; inflating prices of the medical equipment or medical goods above normal market prices; hoarding PPE; and non delivery of products by the supplier after payments has been made by the customer.

With respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FBI warns that PPE fraud generally comes in two forms: testing schemes and treatment schemes. Testing schemes occur when the scammer contacts you either by phone, email, or sometimes in person and tells you they work for the government and that you need to take a COVID-19 test. The scammers use this strategy to obtain the individual's health insurance information and then bill federal or private health insurance programs/plans. Treatment schemes occur when the scammer preys on public fear by selling fake cures and treatments for COVID-19. Individuals who believe this scheme will provide either their money or financial information to the scammer.

What Are the Red Flags of PPE Fraud?
Diligence, carrying out basic research and extreme caution is necessary for avoiding PPE supply scam despite the pressures of time, or difficulty in sourcing PPE. However sophisticated fraudsters have a way of making these efforts seem ineffective. it is regrettable that those in need have fallen victim to sophisticated fraudsters. However, the customer needs to be vigilant to seek out the following signs which might be red flags to the deal;

1. The supplier makes last-minute changes in price.

2. The supplier or seller demands unusual payment terms such as full payment up-front.

3. The seller requests that the buyer make payments before shipment and send the seller proof of payment.

4. An unveriable identity/contact of the supplier by the buyer with either the manufacturer, on the internet, through the supply chain or any other means.

5. Lack of communication or a broken and inconsistent line of communication

6. The seller is unable to answer simple questions such as how they seem to have so much supply of a medical device, equipment, or good that is generally in short supply.

7. The buyer receives multiple excuses for the delay in shipping such as the equipment is stuck in customs or is seized.

In the case of delivery of substandard PPE, victims should be quick to alert relevant authorities in the supplier's country. To avoid being in a disadvantaged position, buyers should never pay in full no matter assurances from the supplier. An agreement should be entered into by making trade agreements to prevent either side getting cheated.

In the case of no delivery at all, authorities like the Interpol can be sought to investigate the fraudulent suppliers.

It is imperative that individuals and companies in the healthcare industry should exercise due diligence and extreme caution when doing business with new brokers, different vendors, or third-party brokers in the supply chain to avoid falling prey to PPE fraudsters.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Shaphargroup has supplied PPE to different companies and health organisations. Our customer satisfaction is attestable. You can be sure to place orders that will be meet to your satisfaction. Contact us today to make an order for PPE products.

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