The demand for coronavirus protective equipment like N95 masks far outweighs domestic production capacity in the U.S. during the pandemic, which means that counterfeiters have found an opening to sell subpar materials that pose "a serious concern to the American public," officials say.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it has identified more than 19,000 suspect COVID-19-related domain names, seized nearly 500 shipments of unauthorized products, and opened 315 investigations into people allegedly selling or shipping the goods, 11 of which have resulted in arrests, per The Wall Street Journal.
That sounds like a lot of work, but the agency's center for intellectual-property protection is teaming up with a number of private companies across the supply chain, including Amazon, Alibaba, 3M, and Pfizer, to squash the counterfeit trade. The extra weight of the companies should help take some of the pressure off the federal government as it scours for risky products.
"This information-sharing effort allows the government to then make more informed about targeting suspicious international shipments," said Lev Kubiak, Pfizer's chief security officer. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.