SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — As the Coronavirus pandemic stretches the limits of the health care system, the Better Business Bureau warns businesses, medical providers, and government agencies to exercise caution and do their homework when trying to obtain personal protective equipment.
The Better Business Bureau says since the pandemic started, they’ve seen instances of thieves taking advantage of people in the areas of Joplin, Carthage, and Neosho.
One of the scams they are seeing related to COVID-19 is thieves going after business owners seeking personal protective equipment like masks and ventilators.
Bureau directors says scammers look to take advantage of people during difficult times like what we’re experiencing now.
Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of Springfield Better Business Bureau, says, “So, we saw this after the Joplin tornado. There were a lot people who came out of the wood works, scammers who came out of the wood works in order to take advantage of people. Unfortunately, this is an environment that scammers thrive in and people are actively looking to steal money from other people who are hurting right now. That’s what we’re seeing is happening in Joplin, Carthage, Neosho, and surrounding communities. It is very concerning to us, which is why we’re talking to you today.”
Garland says tips for purchasing PPE.
Do not use contact information provided in an email or phone communication, as it may be fraudulent.
Pay with a credit card so you can dispute charges later.
If possible, have a third party pick up the items in person to verify they are physically present and as advertised.
Be wary of last-minute changes and report any scams to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker.