How to spot scams when buying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your staff

Hundreds of new suppliers have started selling personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the global shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these suppliers mean well and are helping to distribute the supplies to those who need it most. However, lots of scams have also appeared.

There are two main types of scams:

  • Vanishing selling - Selling you products which never really existed. They can only make a few sales before it is clear there are no products and they have to change their name and start again.
  • Novice distributors - These companies will buy poor quality products from another supplier and distribute. Often they don't know how to verify the products are genuine and suitable for use in the UK.

The health and care sectors are under enormous pressure from the crisis already and these scams exaggerate these problems by causing delays with much-needed PPE. Traditional suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand. Less well-known suppliers can still provide PPE at competitive pricing but require checks to make sure they are genuine.

Checklist when buying PPE

  • Company background check - Check the business is a registered business and was not registered since the crisis began (this is often a red flag). You can do this by searching the company number (found on their website) on companies house. Verify the company matches the one you are speaking with.
  • Verified purchases - Ask for existing customers who have purchased these products. Speak with these customers to understand if the products were as displayed. You may need to do background checks on these customers to ensure they are real businesses themselves.
  • Product documentation - Some types of PPE are required to have datasheets, certification, and test results. Ask for these documents and verify they match what you are being sold. You may need an expert to understand these as there are lots of fake certificates being used as proof. Contact us if you need assistance with this.
  • Regulatory requirements - There are many different types of PPE which look very similar. Check you are buying what is allowed to be used in the UK. View government advice. Providing unsafe PPEs will not be covered under your liability insurance. 

These checks can be very time-consuming. And scammers may try and trick you with fake documents. If one piece of these checks is out then that is a red flag for the business. 

Carehomeshopping.com was built to address these challenges. We verify all our suppliers and follow up with all orders to ensure customers are happy with the delivery and quality of the products. We have expertise on hand to verify certification. We make sure to only display products which are usable as PPE under UK regulations.

Care managers are already under immense pressure tackling the day to day challenges. We want to take this pressure off from the front line so that they can use much of their precious time to keep people safe. 

If you need further advice on how to verify PPE please reach out to team@carehomeshopping.com.

If you are a seller who has a good stock of PPE, ready to distribute to the social care sector please email sellersupport@carehomeshopping.com