Price gougers ask insane prices for hand sanitizer, masks amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 04, 2020

One of the worst things about a crisis is people who try to profit off of the emergency. And in the case of coronavirus, it's online sellers price gouging.

Hunting for face masks right now? In most Walgreens, CVS, Home Depots, and Lowe's stores, you'll find empty shelves. And Purell hand sanitizer is becoming almost as hard to find in some stores.

Medical N95 masks are now going to health care professionals, not stores, which means you are lucky to find some sanding masks (which don't protect against germs).

But online, you'll find basic surgical masks that used to cost well under a dollar each, now asking $7.99 or more.

Even the better N95 masks used to sell for just a dollar or two bucks each.

A check of Amazon now finds masks sold out, or on back order. But we found third party sellers offering a pack of N95 masks for $886, 10 times the original price.

This comes as the CDC says healthy people do not need to wear masks, suggesting instead you wash often with soap and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Amazon fighting gougers

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, sellers are ignoring Amazon's warning about price gouging.

Amazon is pulling gougers listings, but high priced masks keep popping up like a game of Whack-a-Mole.

Prices on basic Purell sanitizer are now quadrupling online as well. It's enough to make you say "doesn't that stink."

eBay is filled with listings that don't inspire confidence, like something called a "coronavirus mask." There's no such thing as a coronavirus mask.

Sure, if you are worried, it may be tempting to pay whatever someone is asking for face masks.

But the CDC says a thin paper mask probably won't protect you anyway. So don't waste your money.


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