FTC Takes Action Against Makers of an ‘Invisible Mask’ They Falsely Claimed Protected Users from COVID-19

The Federal Trade Commission sued to stop four related defendants from deceptively marketing their 1 Virus Buster Invisible Mask (Invisible Mask) that purportedly creates a three-foot barrier of protection against 99.9 percent of all viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19 – without any scientific proof that the product actually works.

Despite receiving a warning letter that the FTC

sent in July 2020, the New York-based defendants continued falsely advertising the Invisible Mask—a badge worn around the neck—as a scientifically proven defense against COVID-19 and other diseases and that it was a government-approved device, according to the FTC’s complaint.

Three of the four defendants have agreed to a proposed order settling the FTC’s complaint, and will be banned from making unsupported health claims for products designed to prevent or treat COVID-19.

“The defendants’ claims that their products can stand in for approved COVID-19 vaccines are bogus,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will use every tool it has at its disposal to stop false and unsubstantiated health claims that endanger consumers.”

The complaint alleges defendants Gary Kong, Timothy Wetzel, and the two companies they operate, K W Technology Inc. and K W Technology NV Inc., violated the FTC Act and the Covid Consumer Protection Act through their marketing and sale of the Invisible Mask on their own website, YouTube, and Facebook, where it was called “The 1 Virus Buster Card.”

This card, which was worn around the neck or clipped onto clothing, was sold using deceptive claims, the FTC says. For example, the defendants claimed their product “uses quantum theory technology, combines known virus and bacteria killing compounds. It is safe, simple, and effective. All you need to do is hang it around your neck or attach it to your collar, close to your mouth and nose. . . it kills 99.9% of most harmful bacterial and viruses . . . within a three-foot radius.”

The FTC contends the defendants have no reliable scientific evidence to support their claims that the Invisible Mask can prevent any human disease, and that despite contacting the FTC after receiving the warning letter and vowing to stop making such claims, they simply continued deceptively marketing the product.

The complaint also alleges the defendants falsely claimed that the Invisible Mask or its materials are government approved or made in a government-approved facility. They also falsely claimed the Invisible Mask had “FDA Approval” and that that the materials used to make it are “EPA-approved.” On their website the defendants posted a phony “Certificate of Registration” with the FDA’s logo, despite the fact that no such agency certificate exists.

The Kong Proposed Order

Three of the defendants have agreed to settle the FTC’s complaint in this case. A proposed court order will ban defendants Kong and his two companies, K W Technology Inc. and K W Technology NV Inc., from advertising, promoting, or selling any product claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19, unless the claims are true and supported by scientific evidence. The order also will bar the defendants from making any health-related product claims unless they have scientific evidence that the claim is true and from making misrepresentations about products’ health benefits, performance, efficacy, safety, or side effects.

The order also prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting they have government approval, clearance, or authority for their products and product claims. Finally, it requires the payment of $150,000.

The Commission voted 3-0 to file the complaint and proposed stipulated order against defendants Kong, K W Technology Inc. and K W Technology NV Inc. The FTC filed the documents in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Litigation continues against defendant Wetzel, who did not agree to the proposed settlement.

The lead attorney on the matter is Robin L. Rock of the FTC’s Southeast Region.

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2023/10/ftc-takes-action-against-makers-invisible-mask-they-falsely-claimed-protected-users-covid-19

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