More Tips to Spot Counterfeit Respirators

Updated May 26, 2021

Before buying 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.
  • Look at the transaction history and reviews if possible.
    • Most auction sites or third-party distributors have a link to the seller of the item and their past sales.
    • Many buyers will leave reviews about their experience or quality of the product.
  • Are there changes to the items sold over time (high or low periods of transaction?)
    • Is the seller marketing the same products over time, or are they mainly selling trending items? Legitimate businesses and suppliers typically sell the same items over time.
    • A buyer can view this by looking at the businesses’ other products. Buyers should also be able to learn more about sellers on big online platforms (reviews of the seller).
  • Are there price changes or swings (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 indicate the respirator is not NIOSH approved.
  • Does the seller break marketplace policy and hide their contact information within images?
    • Typical third-party marketplaces require the seller and buyer to interact within an on-site messaging system. Sellers should not try to bypass 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 part of the company.
  • 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 undone with dummy text
    • Blank pages
    • An odd privacy policy page and/or broken links.
    • Domain squatting type activity (misspell the domain).
Page last reviewed: May 26, 2021