Additional Tips for Spotting Counterfeit Respirators

Updated April 21, 2020

Before buying large quantities of respirators from third party market places or unfamiliar websites, look for the following possible warning signs:

Third-party marketplaces

  • If a listing claims to be “legitimate” and “genuine,” it likely is not.
  • Examine transactions history and feedback if possible
    • On auction sites or third-party distribution networks, most have a link to the seller of the item and their past sales. This is where buyers have the option to leave feedback regarding the experience with the seller such as if the buyer received the item as advertised, if they received it in reasonable amount of time, and if the buyer was unhappy with the product. Many reviewers will report if a product didn’t work or if it was cheap in construction.
  • Are there fluctuations of items traded over time (high or low periods of transaction?)
    • Is the seller marketing the same products over time, or are they primarily selling trendy items? Legitimate businesses and distributors typically sell what they know and stay consistent with their stock over time. A buyer should be able to discover this by looking into a businesses’ other products. Buyers should also be able to gain insight to sellers on big online platforms (reviews of the seller).
  • Are there price deviations and fluctuations (Is it too good to be true?)
  • Look at the quantity a buyer has in stock.
    • During a time of shortage, advertising “unlimited stock” could be an indication that the respirator is not approved.
  • Does the seller break marketplace policy and hide their contact information within images to circumvent filters.
    • Typical third-party marketplaces require interactions between seller and buyer to occur within an on-site messaging system. Sellers should not try to circumvent this system to display personal contact information.

On websites – look at the big picture

  • Is the primary contact email address connected to the website or is it a free email account?
    • Using a free email service may suggest the seller is not committed to the domain
  • Look for bad grammar, typos, and other errors.
  • Watch for cookie-cutter websites, where the sellers interchange several websites, making mistakes:
    • Mixing up names/logos
    • Leaving the site partially unfinished with dummy text
    • Blank pages
    • A nonsense privacy policy page and/or broken links.
    • Domain squatting type activity (misspell the domain).
Page last reviewed: April 21, 2020