Healthcare Shoppers Looking to Buy PPE and Medical Supplies Targeted by Fraudsters

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has published an advisory that cybercriminals are attempting to rob from state organizations and healthcare market consumers that are purchasing medical products and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Healthcare market consumers were cautioned after having records of increasing instances of scams connected to the order of PPE and important medical equipment including ventilators, that have limited supply as a result of greater demand.

The FBI has received information on many reports of advance fee frauds. Government organizations and healthcare market consumers have sent funds to vendors and brokers of PPE and medical products and learned afterward that the dealers were scammers.

There were many reported occurrences of business email compromise (BEC) scams connected to the buying of PPE and medical equipment also. These scams entail the impersonation of broker agents and vendors of goods and services. The scammers utilize email addresses which are pretty much the same as the real broker or seller and ask to wire transfer the money for the purchased merchandise. The buyers frequently only discover the fraud after sending the money and the scammer has taken the money.

The FBI reported one instance where somebody was misled by a scammer to transfer money to an entity that claimed to be an active partner with the supplies company. The potential fraud was just revealed after the money was transferred and the U.S authorities cannot retrieve the fund.

Prepayment for merchandise such as PPE and ventilators is very common, nevertheless, the possibility of being conned is great. In numerous cases, prepayment for goods takes out the flexibility to have a different option.

Healthcare supplies buyers ought to be careful of these indicators of a likely scam:

  • Contact is begun by a dealer or retailer of medical products or PPE, usually via a channel that makes validation of the legitimacy of the retailer or agent complicated. I.e. first contact stems from a private email address or the product offer is acquired over the telephone.
  • The source of the merchandise is not plainly stated, which includes how the dealer or supplier has acquired a supply considering the ongoing high degree of demand.
  • It isn’t possible to check with the producer of the products that the individual showing them for sale is a legit seller or provider of the merchandise, or it’s not possible to validate a legit supply chain.
  • Any baffling pressure for paying or last-minute adjustments to payment methods used in the past.
  • Any contact initiated by a merchant or dealer who says to have a business connection with a present supplier must be validated via formerly used communication avenues to validate the legitimacy of the connection.
  • If communication is initiated by a well-known or trustworthy seller, diligently check the contact details and email address to make certain it is authentic. Watch out for wrong spellings and transposed letters in email addresses.

When possible, request a third party to validate that the merchandise being supplied for sale are physically available, and of the accurate brand, model, and sort and take distribution quickly upon payment. If not doable, make certain to make payment by using a domestic escrow account that will just let go of the cash as soon as the items are delivered and validated to be correct.