Alice resident Michelle Shields said she bought four discounted N95 masks from an online ad with her credit card in February, when the novel coronavirus started popping up globally.
She said she masks allegedly were coming from China, but two months later, she still doesn't have them.
Corpus Christi's Better Business Bureau representative Katie Galan said face mask scams are one of the swindles her office is commonly seeing, but that BBB.org can help consumers verify that a seller is trustworthy.
“Look up a company and see if there are any complaints . . . if there are any reviews or any scams . . . related to that company,” she said.
Galan said other scams to be aware of involve government stimulus checks.
“Some people may get an email or text saying ’We can expedite your check to you if you send us X amount of money,” she said.
Taxpayers don’t have to do anything like that to receive the check, Galan said -- it's already on its way.
When it comes to protecting people from being infected with COVID-19, or trying to find ways to treat it, she said there is no magic cure available on the market, so don't buy something that claims to be a cure.
“There’s no vaccines yet for the virus, or any kind of ointments or creams or any kind of medication you can take,” she said.
Galan said every complaint the BBB receives is fully vetted, and those that prove to be legitimate, are forwarded to either the Attorney General’s office or the Federal Trade Commission. This is the process Shields' claim is current going through.
Galan also offers these tips to help people protect themselves from being the victim of similar ruses.
- Don’t CLICK on any links you haven’t personally solicited.
- Do your research.
- Don’t accept calls from strangers.
- If you feel you’ve been contacted by a possible scammer, go to BBB.org, and they’ll check it out.