As scams increase, YPB offers free counterfeit protection to combat COVID-19
You’d think in this day and age, people would come together in times of crisis to help those in need, not to rip them off.
However, panic has set in and on top of unnecessary bulk buying of toilet paper and other essentials, new types of scams have also arisen.
According to Roland Bleyer, founder of Australia's largest independent credit card comparison site, creditcard.com.au, community fear and panic around the coronavirus is driving an increase in online sales and fraud as people opt to shop online rather than instore.
"Online sales are experiencing surges across the country as well as overseas in response to panic buying," Bleyer said.
"Unfortunately we are also seeing a rise in scam websites marketing essential products and expensive miracle virus remedies," Bleyer added.
"Some of these scams are also undertaking phishing expeditions trying to get you to give them your personal information as well as credit card details.
Cybersecurity firm Check Point stated a few days ago that over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains – sites that contain the words corona or covid – have been registered since the beginning of 2020.
"People need to be very careful. While online shopping is encouraged as it assists people to access the items they need without having to go into store, everyone needs to be on high alert," Bleyer said.
"Be very careful to ensure the businesses you shop with, are legitimate and your credit card and personal details are safe."
Meanwhile, global counterfeiters are taking advantage of the worldwide panic, producing and selling fake face masks and Covid-19 testing kits.
Chinese authorities have shut down more than 80 shops on e-commerce platform Taobao, run by Alibaba, for selling counterfeit masks, and police found 100,000 fake masks during a raid of an underground factory in Shanghai in early February.
In recent weeks, there has been widespread reporting of the sale and distribution of fake face masks, usually counterfeit versions of the popular N95 variant made by 3M.
US Customs officials uncovered six plastic bags containing fake Covid-19 testing kits in a package sent from the UK on March 12.
However, with the virus showing no signs of slowing down, more fake sellers are likely to surface on e-commerce sites faster than they can be shut down, especially as people continue to stockpile masks or buy thousands at once to send to family and friends in parts of the world that have run out.
Supplies of the authentic product are now dangerously low and demand is higher than ever.
To help combat this, YPB Group (ASX:YPB) is offering manufacturers of both masks and tests their technology free to help control the rapid spread of fake products.
“We urge manufacturers, no matter where they are, to contact our office via our website – ypbsystems.com – and we will provide them with our tracer technology to incorporate into their products,” CEO John Houston said.
YBP Group will provide pocket-sized, handheld portable scanners to hospitals, government agencies and other front-line services, globally and at cost to allow them to confirm the authenticity of face masks and testing kits they are using.
YPB’s T2 invisible tracer technologies are invisible to the human eye, indestructible and can be integrated into polymers, yarn, plastic and ink, and has been certified as safe to EU and FDA standards. “We know that it will take many months for Governments to manage the transmission of this virus and it is vital that emergency services and hospitals have authentic product,” Houston said.
“The longer this goes on, the more counterfeit product will be produced. Our technologies can prevent this and YPB Group is willing to assist with our patented technology. This is an extension of my long-held desire to use our unique technologies for humanity.”