We have been involved directly in providing cyber and buyer security in the fight against the covid19 virus. However we have also been involved in the fight against the virus of fake vendors, fake merchandise and fraudulent operations targeting everyone in need of personal protection equipment, or #PPE as it is known.
As such, we have encountered hundreds of companies in the past three months. In the USA. In China. In Europe. In other Asian countries. In UK. In Africa. We have been approached by Governments, and those pretending to be affiliated with one. We have been approached by Hospitals, and those pretending to be affiliated with one. We have been approached by legitimate companies offering to sell registered, certified materials, and we have been approached by companies offering to sell fake, unregistered, non certified materials. We have even been approached by criminals pretending to be legitimate companies.
Below is a brief list of the types of Covid-19 scams and #ppe fraud operations Digijaks Group has had the responsibility of vetting for our clients. This is in no particular order. We have specific examples of each, but for now are not publishing names given the global transnational crime nature of much of this.
- Fake Alibaba supplier scam – 2 parts. This one is where a fake company lists multiple listings on Alibaba, which is one of largest global trading websites. A. The type who is not even a company, and somehow posts a fake listing for N95 masks, which are always FDA and CE certified, with fake certificates and often fake materials, if there is a company at all. ( To verify both N95 and KN95 Masks please refer to these two CDC webpages – https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/respirators/testing/NonNIOSHresults.html and this one to check counterfeit N95 masks that are not called 3M or Honeywell, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/counterfeitResp.html. This company tries to get upfront only payment plus upfront only shipping. B. The company that is actually a real company, but the ad is taken out by a corporate identity theft ring operating out of Europe. They use a Fake Vat scam – see below – and then hoist up a fake website to then advertise in the real company’s name, and real VAT # but everything else is fraudulent.
- The FAKE VAT scam – utilizes real VATs, and real company names – but uses fake websites, fake social media and fake websites to direct what would be legitimate business from the legitimate company to the fraudulent one using the same name. Hello @Interpol – you need you look into this one, seems to be increasing in Poland, Turkey, Netherlands and Hungary as well as Italy and UK.
- The US listed company that is not what it seems. We were contacted by a US listed company (registered in one of the 50 states as a legitimate company) – but their email platform and website are from Russia. When questioned, they went silent. Enough said.
- The mysterious phone call offering sale of “Secret cache of N95 Masks” of some undetermined “generic” kind of FDA and CDC supposedly certified masks – for **ONLY** $5 or $6 dollars each or what would be basically a 500% markup. Followed up by emails from same person.
- The Chinese companies who can’t seem to use email and can only incessantly send you @whatsapp messages begging you to wire money to get the mask, hand sanitizer, googles, thermometer or isolation gowns you desperately are in need of. But no explanation of how they make such products when last month they made lawn mowers.
- The instantly changing website of a fake company using a real company’s VAT and corporate information on a fake website. In response to an email, suddenly their website is almost word for word what the email was about. Suddenly they shift from selling farm products to selling “authorized and licensed @3M masks” or whatever.
- The totally fake, non existent companies that advertise on Google ads and use fake websites + SEO decked out platforms to pump out fake ads and get you to use fake e-commerce platforms to give up your real money and get nothing in return – the “NO SHIP Fraud”.
- There are many more types, but these seem to be the most prevalent.