BINGHAMTON, NY – With omicron surging, some people are opting to get better quality masks.

The problem is, many masks claiming to be N95/KN95 aren’t real.

These masks must be NIOSH approved and will come with a certification.

Here are some ways to figure out if the masks you want to, or have, purchased are real according to the CDC:

  • There are no markings at all on the mask
  • No approval number can be found on the facepiece or headband
  • No NIOSH markings at all
  • NIOSH is spelled wrong
  • There is some sort of decorative fabric or add ons
  • There are claims the mask is approved for children (NIOSH does not approve respiratory protection for children)
  • The mask has ear loops instead of headbands.

If you want to order these masks online, the CDC has additional recommendations before you click purchase:

  • Read the reviews and check out the seller, if possible
  • Does the seller sell the same items over time, or do they just sell what’s trendy? Legitimate business suppliers will sell the same products over time.
  • Are there price changes or swings?
  • How much inventory do they have? “Unlimited Stock” is usually a bad sign in the wake of omicron.
  • Can the seller be easily contacted or do they hid their information?
  • Does the website have errors and typos?
  • Is the primary contact email address connected to the website or do they use a free account?
  • Watch for website errors, like mixing up names and logos, leaving some of the site unfinished, blank pages, odd privacy policy and broken links.

Still unsure? Visit the CDC’s website for pictures and examples on counterfeit masks.