Dan Harris, a lawyer in Seattle who advises on business deals in China, said that he recently got a call from one company that ordered a shipment of protective masks. Instead they got Halloween masks. (He didn’t know what type.) “You’re wondering, why do they bother sending Halloween masks rather than nothing at all?” Harris said. The answer, he said, is that it buys them time. When an order ships, a buyer gets proof of shipment, and in the weeks that the Halloween masks are on the water the factory can scam other buyers.