States facing mask shortages forced to weed out fakes, pay premium

The process of obtaining medical masks is filled with fraud as some sellers try to take advantage of states' desperation for masks to protect against COVID-19, The Washington Post reported. 

Alexis Wong, a Hong Kong-based trader who exports medical masks, told the Post that she estimates that less than 20 percent of the buyers and sellers she's come in contact with are real. 

Several dozen state and local government officials, hospital executives and medical supply brokers also told the Post in recent weeks that the process of purchasing medical masks is filled with fraudulent deals. 

Ms. Wong told the Post she has to put money from deals involving medical masks in escrow to make sure the money is protected by a third party until the deal goes through. She said she regularly sees forged financial documents and videos of fake masks. 

In April, federal authorities arrested a man after he offered to sell the Department of Veterans Affairs 125 million N95 masks that didn't exist, according to the Post

Some states and cities have reported improved supplies of medical masks, but many areas are still facing dangerous shortages and are paying highly inflated prices to obtain masks. 

Read the full article here.


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