How had I nearly purchased a counterfeit? Saoud Khalifah, the founding father of Fakespot, a company that gives instruments to detect faux listings and critiques on-line, stated a third-party vendor had in all probability taken management of the product itemizing and bought fakes to make a fast buck.
“It’s a bit of a Wild West,” he stated. “The normal consumers that shop on Amazon do not know that they just bought a fake mask. This is the biggest critical problem: You think it’s real, and suddenly you get sick.”
Mr. Khalifah offered different examples of questionable masks that have been being bought on Amazon:
A pack of fifty masks was highlighted on Amazon this week because the No. 1 new launch in girls’s vogue scarves. Obviously, masks aren’t scarves, which was a giveaway that one thing was off. The itemizing description additionally changed all the letter A’s with accented characters. This was a approach used to bypass Amazon’s fraud detection techniques, Mr. Khalifah stated. Amazon eliminated the itemizing after I referred to as about it.
Another pack of 20 masks looked attractive and was described as permitted by the C.D.C. It even had optimistic critiques with a mean of 4.4 stars. But the critiques revealed that the majority prospects had obtained the masks totally free, in all probability an incentive to depart optimistic suggestions. One lukewarm assessment from somebody who had paid for the product famous that the masks have been “thin and very, very big.”
Mr. Khalifah’s software additionally detected that the reviewers of one other pack of 100 masks, which had unanimous five-star rankings, had a historical past of writing promotional critiques for different manufacturers.
Amazon stated in a assertion that it prohibits the sale of counterfeit merchandise and invests to guarantee its coverage is adopted. It stated it had particular insurance policies for N95 and KN95 masks, together with a course of for vetting stock and taking motion on those that bought fakes.
Amazon additionally stated it had addressed the questionable Powecom masks that I practically bought, in addition to the masks marketed as a scarf. It added that there was no proof that the pack of 20 masks was counterfeited and didn’t touch upon the pack of 100 masks.
Mr. Khalifah cautioned that the fakes he noticed on Amazon may simply as simply be on web sites for different huge retailers, equivalent to Walmart and eBay, that permit third-party sellers to ship merchandise. To purchase genuine masks, he stated, I ought to take a much less conventional method to purchasing on-line.
Order from a licensed supply
Armed with this recommendation, I continued my seek for the Powecom masks.
I visited the manufacturer’s website, which listed steps for verifying that a masks is actual. That concerned scanning a bar code on the bundle with a cellphone digital camera. Then I did a internet seek for the masks, which introduced me to bonafidemasks.com, a web based retailer that shows documentation stating that it’s an authorized distributor of Powecom masks within the United States.
That was extra reassuring. So I ordered a pack of 100 for $99. When the bundle arrived within the mail, I scanned the bar codes to verify their authenticity. They have been the actual deal.