Authorities warn of protective gear scams, counterfeit labeling

Texas state and federal authorities are warning consumers to beware of scams, price-gouging, and mislabeled products as they seek to replenish their stock of personal protective equipment during the pandemic, according to mysanantonio.com.

Tips on how to avoid buying counterfeit masks and price-gouging were released Monday by U.S. Attorneys in Texas and state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office.

Some warning signs include unusual payment terms, last-minute price changes, excuses for delay in shipment, an unexplained source of a large quantity of materials, and evidence of re-packaging or mislabeling.

Officials have prohibited charging exorbitant prices for PPE during the pandemic.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, said several complaints related to PPE fraud are currently under investigation.

A list of respirators falsely labeled as approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at cdc.gov/niosh.

The results of products that have been tested by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory can be found at cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/.

Consumers who believe they have encountered scams or price gouging should call the attorney general’s office toll-free complaint line at 800-621-0508. A complaint may also be filed at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.

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