Denver woman has warning after falling victim to face mask website scam

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DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) — With Gov. Polis’ recent public health order requiring Coloradans to wear masks, more and more scammers are looking to prey on folks who are trying to stay safe.

“It’s gone. My money is gone. There’s nothing I can do,” Laura Wade-Webb said.

Wade-Webb lost more than $100 while trying to protect her family during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a real shame that you have to take advantage of people to make a living, especially at this time,” Wade-Webb said.

Like many people, Wade-Webb was having trouble finding a face mask.

Several online retailers are sold out. But as she scrolled through Facebook, an add caught her eye. This website – (www.smilefu.com) – had masks that were breathable and comfortable.

“I love the fact that the mask had the filter on there and it came with extra filters. I like the way it was made and it looked very comfortable,” Wade-Webb said.

The website promises delivery in five to seven days. Back on April 17, Wade-Webb purchased twelve masks, but they never showed up. The FOX31 Problems Solvers called the company and it turns out it’s not a legitimate phone number.

We also discovered Wade-Webb is not alone. Online reviews of the “smilefu.com” company show a pattern of customer deception.

“I just had this deep sinking feeling,” Wade-Webb said.

FOX31 contacted the Denver Better Business Bureau and Investigations Coordinator, Ezra Coopersmith, said they are seeing a spike in criminals capitalizing on COVID-19.

“People are worried about their health, they’re worried about getting their hands on these products – and unfortunately scammers know that and set up fake websites,” Coopersmith said.

“Smilefu.com” lists their physical business address in Hong Kong. That address is an exact match to this website that sells cowgirl attire.

The BBB recommends consumers only buy masks from reputable websites and to make sure those websites have working contact information.

As for Wade-Webb, she wants others to be careful when ordering online.

“I changed my bank cards, everything. I have changed everything in my life because of this.”

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