Avoiding KN95 and N95 mask scams, what to look for

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 10:51:46-05

The CDC has recently changed its mask guidelines. While they fell short of saying which specific mask people should wear, they did say wear the one that offers the most protection.

Health officials say that's the KN95 or N95 mask. While the Biden Administration plans to give out 400 million N95 masks across the country, there are still mask scams popping up on the web.

We've seen scams from day one of the pandemic.

"It's happening across the country and in Central Texas and all across the area. We are seeing the reports trickle in. The problem is it's so global, anybody can set up a website and capture anybody at any point, simply doing a Google search and looking for masks and we see your information compromised," said Jason Meza with the Better Business Bureau.

With over 6,000 different types of respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it can be easy to waste your money on something that's not worth it.

Dr. Amy Mersoivsky the Chair of Nursing, at A&M Central Texas said, "Just because they're on an online set doesn't mean they're very reputable. We know there's been a lot of pop-up sites and things like that."

The latest guidance from the CDC says N95 and KN95 masks offer the most protection from COVID-19. The N95 mask is made and monitored in the U.S. While the KN95 is made in China, both offer up to 95 percent protection from COVID-19.

Mersoivsky said, "The N95 is going to have NIOSH proof stamped on it for one thing, and it's also going to have in 95 stamped on it. The KN95's that are more reputable, they're also going to have KN95 stamped on them."

"There's a lot of confusion, a lot of phony masks that are out there. They're looking like the originals, but they're being perpetrated as real or legit," said Meza. "Only buy from those reputable stores and websites. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to buy from somebody that you know and trust. You can start at BBB to read the reviews of what other consumers have experienced with that re-seller and then look at the store and the contact."

If you can't get your hands on a legit KN95 or N95 mask Mersiovsky said, " I know it's hard if you can't get your hands on an N95 or a KN95 you have surgical masks or more regular masks that are not cloth and cloth masks. You can layer them and that does help."

If you are unsure if your KN95 or N95 mask is reputable, turn to reliable sources like the CDC.