Consumers and organizations alike should be especially careful when shopping online.
The number of counterfeit protective equipment in Europe is increasing. The Industrial Property Office (IPO) of the Slovak Republic warns citizens to be especially vigilant during this period, especially when shopping from the Internet. In April, a network of sellers of fake face masks worth 15 million euros was unveiled, which ordered medical equipment, supplies that did not reach their destination, and fake doorstep sales.
Consumers and organizations should be especially careful when buying drapes, respirators, coronavirus tests, latex gloves, alcohol-based disinfectant gels online, but especially antivirals such as Remdesivir, antimalarials, vitamins and nutritional supplements.
As stated by the Industrial Property Office, the lack of drapes, respirators, protective suits or disinfectants associated with the increase in their prices has become a breeding ground for a rapid increase in trade in counterfeit goods in the area. “Despite the fact that most of the counterfeit products in this case also come from China and India, today it is no longer the case that such goods are revealed only by a suspiciously low price,” the office stated. The consumer should, therefore, use only proven online stores or brick-and-mortar stores.
Counterfeit goods do not meet the strict quality requirements set by the certification bodies of the European Union and do not provide the necessary level of protection. The European Police Office (EUROPOL) has also issued a warning about increased crime, which registers an increase in fraud, theft and counterfeiting. The certificates certifying the effectiveness or safety of the given products also become the subject of forgery.