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Pirated PPE: 3M works to curb counterfeit activity

London, Ontario ⁠— With an increase in counterfeit activity in connection with COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE), 3M has issued an information sheet detailing tips targeted at combatting the fraud. 

The company says its legal team members have investigated more than 9,900 reports globally of suspected fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging since the pandemic began last March. 

Actions the company has taken to combat counterfeit activities include collaboration with law enforcement, tech companies and online resellers as well as publicly publishing prices of N95 respirators.

“Online, we have successfully secured the removal of tens of thousands of e-commerce listings with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings of false or deceptive social media posts,” said the company. 

The company filed more than a dozen lawsuits in federal courts across the U.S. and Canada⁠—of which it has “won multiple temporary restraining and preliminary injunction orders in these cases putting a stop to the defendants’ unlawful activities. Any monetary damages from the lawsuits will be donated to COVID-19 related non-profits.

The company suggests the following tips to help avoid counterfeit products:

  • Products with missing straps, strange odours, blocked valves, misspelled words, etc., are likely not authentic 3M respirators.
  • Expiration dates and shelf-life information for 3M respirators can usually be found on the side or bottom of the packaging.
  • 3M respirators are sold in 3M packaging with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product. 3M respirators are not meant to be sold individually or without packaging/user instructions.

3M has also created a resource web page to help businesses avoid inflated prices, identify authentic 3M products and ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors.

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