Businesses and consumers in the Isle of Man are urged to be vigilant against scammers selling counterfeit health care products online.
According to the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (OFT) scammers are using bogus websites to sell a variety of fake and sub-standard products, which include face masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, as they seek to benefit from the public’s fears over COVID-19.
Martyn Perkins MHK, Chair of the OFT, said:
'Criminals have turned the fight against coronavirus into an opportunity, so we must remain vigilant. The OFT will not hesitate to prosecute anyone caught selling counterfeit health care products in the Island.’
In the UK, Trading Standards officers uncovered a bogus website exploiting a legitimate company by stealing its identity. Officers were first alerted to this by a partner agency, which had found a false test certificate in relation to some of the products being advertised.
Further investigation found that the business address on the website is currently a building site. Information on the website claimed the firm was founded in 2010 to manufacture and distribute ‘high quality disposable healthcare products’ but the domain name was first registered in February 2020.
John Peet, Head of the OFT, said:
‘The COVID-19 crisis is obviously bringing out the best in people but criminals rarely miss an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable or those who have simply let their guard down.
'We would urge you to be very cautious when ordering health care products online and to put the phone down on anyone who cold calls you offering such products for sale.’