More than 40 Washington Hospitals Receive Fake N95 Masks

The fake N95 face masks look so real that only the manufacturer can tell if they are counterfeit.

More than 40 Washington Hospitals Receive Fake N95 Masks

Hospitals across the state of Washington are removing potentially fake N95 masks from their shelves after receiving an alert on Friday from mask manufacturer 3M and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

More than 40 Washington hospitals received some of the fake masks from the Washington Hospital Association, reports KIRO.

Unfortunately, the fraudulent face coverings aren’t easy to identify. The news station reports that the fake masks look so real that only 3M can tell if they are counterfeit.

N95 masks are used by frontline hospital workers to keep them from catching COVID-19 when they are treating patients with the virus. The 3M masks are popular with women because they fit smaller faces.

The counterfeit masks are mixed in the 3M N95 supply chain across the country, and the source of the fakes appears to be at the distributor level.

The Washington Hospital Association doesn’t know if the fake masks are effective at preventing wearers from being infected with COVID-19 or not. The association purchased 300,000 of the counterfeit masks, and at least 60,000 of those masks were not distributed to hospitals, reports King5.

Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association told KIRO she believes the fake masks were among about 2 million N95 masks delivered and distributed to about 40% of the state’s hospitals.

According to 3M, the company has been receiving increasing reports of counterfeiting and fraud related to the following respirator models: 3M™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860; 3M™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860S; and 3M™ Aura™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+.

To help combat COVID-19 related fraud, 3M has hotlines in the U.S. and internationally. For more information on 3M’s fraud-fighting efforts, click here.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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