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If there’s a high demand online for health and safety items, like facemasks and paper products, guess what scammers pretend to sell? That’s right: health and safety items, like facemasks and paper products.

Since the beginning of March, dozens of people, including healthcare workers, have told the FTC they paid online stores for facemasks and toilet paper but didn’t get anything. Most people said the scammers took their money and then ghosted them by cutting off all contact, refusing to answer questions, or closing or deactivating their online store websites.

Before you order from an unfamiliar online store, consider these tips to help avoid a scam:

  • Check out the company or product by typing its name in a search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people say about it. Read the seller's description of the product carefully. If the seller has name-brand goods at steeply discounted prices, they might be fakes.
  • Look at the terms of the sale. Calculate the total purchase price, including taxes, shipping, and handling. Find out when you can expect your delivery. By law, sellers should ship your order within the time stated in its ads, or within 30 days if the ads don’t state a time. If you have to return the item, can you get a refund? Who pays for return shipping? Is there a restocking fee?
  • Pay by credit card. You’ll get protections under federal law, so you don’t have to pay for merchandise you ordered but didn’t get. If a business charged your account too soon, and didn’t deliver the merchandise on time, you can dispute the billing error and report it to your credit card company.

If you have a problem with an online purchase, you can try to work it out with the seller, but remember: you have the right to dispute a billing error directly with the credit card issuer. And if you suspect a scam, tell the FTC at For more for more tips, blogs, and videos about avoiding Coronavirus-related scams, visit

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

StC Don
April 30, 2020
Why doesn't the FTC publish the names of the scamming companies in their articles ?? Sure would help us to avoid those companies.
FTC Staff
April 30, 2020

In reply to by StC Don

Knowing the name of a site isn't always the best way to avoid a scam. Scammers may open - and close - sites quickly, or change the name of a site. That's why we offer tips you can use every time you shop, for every site.

April 30, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Is there any reason people who have been scammed can't share the names of scammer sites here? The site names may change but not providing the names is too much like doing nothing. I am waiting for masks and have a bad feeling I have been scammed because their site says they ship in 7 to 10 days but AFTER ordering I got a message that they don't know when they will ship. Now I have to order from somewhere else because I am in a state that requires masks in public places and can't wait forever. License to steal!
FTC Staff
May 05, 2020

In reply to by Question

By law, if a seller can't ship within the promised time, it must notify you, give a revised shipping date and give you the chance to cancel for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.

The seller must give you a way to exercise the cancellation option for free — for example, by giving you a prepaid reply card or staffing a toll-free telephone number. 

If you don’t respond, and the delay is 30 days or less, it’s assumed that you accept the delay and are willing to wait for the merchandise.

Read more about your rights in this FTC article.

Aunty Mame
April 30, 2020
CAUTION! This company wants you to pay now and wait 2-6 weeks for the product. Read the "Terms & Conditions" carefully. The use lots of words to suggest you cannot cancel an order or return an order without jumping through several hoops. Important: Don't try calling the "order" number. You'll get locked into an endless loop with the same "I'm sorry, all customer service reps are helping other customers" blah, blah, blah. We called at 2:00AM just see if they had 24 Customer Service. They don't. We called 9AM. Same result. It's now 11:12AM and the endless loop continues. Summary: This sounds too good to be true and by the time you take them up on the "free" offer you're closing out at around $30.00 for a grand total of 20 masks. Careful wording makes it appear as if one (1) order is 20 masks and if you double order you'll get another 20 masks plus "an extra 10" for a total of 50. You'll be out $30. for 20 masks you can probably find at the local pharmacy store. No, we did not order. When we were unable to speak with a "live agent" to verify costs and quantity we decided against going further. Avoid!
April 30, 2020
One company will tell you that mask is made in USA but the tracking system says it comes from UK. Mask came after a month. Mask did not have any labels on it. No made in USA or kind of fabric use. I think it is Made in China and they use an American company's name to make it look like they are from USA.
May 02, 2020

In reply to by masquerade

I was promised a quick delivery by 2 retailers on Amazon. One Chinese company was honest enough to rescind the order, telling me they could not fill it. The other has offered to allow me to cancel. I have waited 6 weeks, so I will!
April 30, 2020
Ordered TP and disinfecting wipes on line. Company listed as OKHOMEONLINE in US but charge went to totally different name: Fabfashion ltd. Have not received anything-web site does not exist. Also ordered masks from different company listed as Tarzana, Ca but again charge went to international company. I have learned my lesson. No more ordering. :(
FTC Staff
May 05, 2020

In reply to by mouse

You can help law enforcement by reporting that to the FTC at The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

April 30, 2020
This happened to me twice, once on Amazon and once on Etsy. I was able to work with both and PayPal in getting refunds
April 30, 2020
Thank you for all the information i receive !! I sure hope people follow all that you inform us and don't get scammed by these heartless people!! stay safe and thank you again!!
April 30, 2020
I bought some masks that I knew were coming from China through Walmart online. They were delayed and delayed again and the tracking never was updated after the masks got to the US PS. I got an email from Walmart telling me that they were refunding my money and if I got the masks later a reminder keep or donate or do whatever with it. The masks were due to arrive April 14. Walmart has refunded my money. The masks arrived today. So I guess patience does pay off!
April 30, 2020
I've been far. I ordered a box of surgical masks and payed with AMEX, thinking if I got scammed I could dispute the charge. On the AMEX site it said the charge was in Grenada and I thought "Oh Oh" but the masks came...mailed from someplace in New Jersey. The only thing I am waiting for is a shipment of 91% alcohol sprays and will wait until I receive them before paying the charge.
May 01, 2020
Yes, I definitely was scammed by a company in China, the 2-3 times this has happened to me with a company outside of the US, but this time I check before purchasing the items and it stated that it was located in Florida. Once the order went through, I found out to main company/or where the items was coming from was China and I canceled the order, but they never stopped it and supposedly shipped it per an email message and I never to this day receive it, nor a refund after asking x3 companies that's affiliated with them, for my money back. I've reported it to BBB, who couldn't locate them even after I gave x3 names they're listed under, and I've reported it to the FTC as well. Don't know if anything will ever be done about it. I have learned not to ever order another thing from any company outside of the US. You have no way of fighting them.
May 08, 2020
Millions of people are getting scammed trying to buy cotton masks from fraudulent websites. Instead of everyone in the world having to find the few REAL mask vendors, why doesn't the FTC create a pre-certified list of valid vendors?
May 15, 2020
We did receive the masks but they had completely different markings and text on the packaging than on the pictures they used to sell. The FDA symbols and CE certification were removed when I received the actual packaging and boxes.
May 16, 2020
I filed a report with the FTC but doubt anything can be done because this company in China goes by multiple names I’m finding out. I ordered a face mask that covers your face and neck and it has been one month and haven’t received the order. I keep getting emails saying order is processing. How long does it take to process orders after they take your money. This is the second time I’ve been scammed by a fake Chinese company claiming to be American. Best to not order anything except from reputable sites that you’ve ordered from in the past. I got scammed twice and lost money that won’t be returned.
July 06, 2020
No masks came from Haolshop, after more then 2 months.
June 04, 2020
Paid Choise Co for 2 face masks, who did not deliver. I sent them email inquiring when I would receive the masks, to which there was no response. I see they are no longer listed online.
June 11, 2020
I also order masks and they advertised that if you were living in the state of CA you would receive within 5-7 days. I became suspicious when a tracking update - Not from the USPS- stated it had left another shipper on May 30th and it was May 29th. Turned out they were being shipped from China and then I looked at other reviews of the company online and customers had stated they never received masks. I called my credit card company and told them not to pay as they had not paid yet. So they credited the account and I'm still receiving shipping updates so they are ripping people off.
July 05, 2020
I just wanted to point out it's really important for consumers to understand how face masks are regulated in the US to make sure the masks they buy work as advertised. There are campaigns all over the internet trying to sell "N99+" masks for example. Any mask with an "N" in the name should be certified by NIOSH and you will see that certification printed clearly on the mask. (N95, N99, and N100 are real "filter efficiency levels" used by NIOSH... "N99+" or "N90" masks, for example, are not).