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  • Writer's pictureDearRobin

Surgical Mask Purchase or Scam?

Dear Robin-

I am a baby boomer and want to make sure that my family is safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. I ordered surgical masks 3 weeks ago on the internet and have not received any yet. Have I been scammed?

Grace D.-Mass.

Dear Grace-

The shorty answer is that you may have been scammed. It was just announced by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in Great Britain, that there had been 21 reports of fraud since Feb. 10, many of which involved scams over masks, with one victim paying about $19,700 for masks that never arrived.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) scare has provided the scammers with many new opportunities to try and scam you. Many of these scams are being targeted at Baby-boomers and Seniors because they have been identified as the most vulnerable groups.

In addition to products that get ordered and never arrive, the FTC and the FDA have recently issued joint warning letters to the sellers of products that claim to control or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and products containing colloidal silver. The FTC says that the companies involved have no evidence to back up their claims. So in this very stressful time, we all need to be very careful before ordering any product we find offered to us in emails, text messages or on the internet.

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you keep the scammers away:

  • Don't click on links from sources that you don't know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

I am so sorry that you may have gotten scammed but the scammers are very tricky and it can happen to anyone.

If you would like to learn more check out my resources on

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