3M announced that it has been able to seize more than 41 million counterfeit N95 respirators since the pandemic began in early 2020 with the help of global law enforcement and customs agencies.
The latest seizure is of more than one million suspected counterfeit N95 respirators from a warehouse in the Eastern District of Kentucky with the help of the U.S. Marshals service.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has also granted 3M a temporary restraining order stopping defendant Old World Timber, LLC from selling counterfeit products. The case was initiated after potential customers contacted 3M’s fraud hotlines to check the authenticity. It was found that the sales documents and products were fake.
3M has established hotlines around the world to report suspected fraud. It has also created online resources to help spot price-gouging and identifying authentic 3M respirators.
These seizures are part of the company’s continuing global effort to combat pandemic fraud, counterfeiting, and price gouging.
3M has already investigated more than 14,200 fraud reports to its hotlines globally, and has filed 36 lawsuits to stop those attempting to profiteer from the pandemic demand for critical supplies.
3M has also got removed more than 21,000 false or deceptive social media posts, over 20,200 fraudulent e-commerce offers and at least 315 deceptive domain names have been taken down.
The company has also terminated 3M distributors for engaging in price gouging or violating 3M policy and collaborated with law enforcement and technology companies to combat fraud.
3M said it is donating all of the monetary damages and settlement payments it receives in these cases to COVID-19 related charities.
3M recognized the challenge of COVID-19 and responded early and rapidly to provide critical supplies needed to fight the pandemic. 3M increased production of N95 and other respirators critical for doctors, nurses and first responders, quadrupling the U.S. and global production rate.
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