BBB advises to beware of medical supply scams

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to use extreme caution when doing business with Alphamential Accessories LLC, which claims to be located in Chesterfield, and Atlantic Medical Supplies, which claims to be located in St. Charles. Both businesses claim to sell medical supplies, including face masks.

BBB’s research found that these companies, with nearly identical websites, are not physically located where the websites claim. According to web domain registry information, each website is less than two months old.

“Consumers have reported hundreds of scams in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “When you are searching for goods online to keep you and your family safe during this pandemic, research the company thoroughly before spending any of your hard-earned money. Because a company claims to be local, it doesn’t make it any more trustworthy.”

The websites offer a number of medical supplies for sale. Prices on some items appear to be marked down, making the consumer believe they are on sale.

A BBB investigator called Alphamential Accessories LLC and attempted to order some face masks. When the investigator attempted to order a few boxes of face masks, he was told that he had to order in bulk.

The investigator asked if he could come by their location listed on its website, near Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The Alphamential Accessories LLC employee said that they do not have a store there and were affiliated with a medical supply business at the location.

The owner of the actual medical supply business told BBB any affiliation between his business and Alphamential Accessories LLC “was absolutely false.” The medical supply business owner told BBB that his business is the only business at that location.

In addition to its website, which was registered on February 29, Alphamential Accessories LLC promotes its products through a Facebook business page.

Atlantic Medical Supplies is using the address of a residence on Muegge Road in St. Charles. The business website was registered on March 16, according to web domain registration. BBB spoke with the resident living at the address being used by the business, and they said they had no affiliation with Atlantic Medical Supplies.

Neither company is registered to do business with the Missouri secretary of state.

BBB has tips on how to avoid online shopping scams.

Research any business and its owners carefully before paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at BBB.org or by calling 888-996-3887.

Be wary of sales or prices that seem too good to be true. In many of these cases, either the items do not exist or they are of poorer quality.

Read all terms and conditions carefully before completing a purchase. Make sure to understand expected delivery time and refund policies. Know your options in case you receive an item that was not as advertised.

Pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.

Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://.” You may also see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

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