‘Local authorities in Germany have been left red-faced after unknown fraudsters ‘sold’ them a nonexistent batch of face masks. The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, says the item is mostly useless against Covid-19.
Face masks have become a precious commodity amid the global health crisis, with countries snatching shipments from under each other’s noses, prices skyrocketing and many opting for homemade variants. Loath to miss an opportunity for profit, however, criminal minds have found ways to dip into the burgeoning market of face protection gear as well.
North Rhine-Westphalia, the most densely-populated and one of the worst coronavirus-hit German states, has been duped out €2.4 million ($2.61 million) in a large-scale face mask scam, German prosecutors said on Tuesday. The state’s authorities shelled out a whopping €14.7 million ($15.9 million) for a shipment of masks last month – but it turns out they never existed.’