BEC and Advance Fee Scam is more common to smaller quantities of PPE.Fraudulent actors in the post COVID 19 era have been using PPE shortages as a basis to scam people with smaller quantities and units of PPE may try to use advance fee and business email compromise (BEC) schemes. BEC is more common to sham sales of COVID19 Vaccines, which is a more recent scam.
For very small quantities of PPE, you should try to use on online escrow service or ideally demand the use of PayPal. PayPal’s high costs and fees do tend to deter buyers seeking to make safer transactions though.
In advance fee schemes related to procurement, a victim is asked to pay (partially or in full) to a purported seller or a broker for a good or service and then receives little or nothing in return or something in the nature of defective goods.
BEC schemes often involve the spoofing of a legitimate known email of a good or well-known business, and/or the use of the address or use of a nearly identical email address to communicate with a victim to redirect legitimate payments to a bank account controlled by fraudsters.
A variation on BEC schemes can involve similar social engineering techniques via phone calls, where as the classic scam involved people pretending to be from Tax Departments, or Microsoft helplines.
Coming specially to advance fee scams affect PPE sales and make the vulnerable to fraud, it should be noted that while pre-payment is more common in the current environment, it substantially increases the risk of a buyer being defrauded and eliminates most potential recourse, as the business completely disappears or goes unresponsive.
Have you been a victim of such a scam during COVID19? Feel free to drop us an email at email@example.com if you need legal assistance.