3M has filed 18 lawsuits in fight against COVID-19 fraud

In just over three months, 3M has investigated more than 4,000 reports of fraud connected with COVID-19, such as the sale of fake or overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE).

The manufacturer of respiratory masks and other PPE goods started a crackdown on suspected fraud, counterfeiting, and price gouging of its products in March, and since then has filed 18 lawsuits in the US and Canada.

3M has won 6 temporary restraining orders and 4 preliminary injunction orders from courts that halted defendants' unlawful actions.

Just last week, it resolved a case in a federal court in Indiana against ZeroAqua, blocking a fraudulent N95 mask scheme involving the promise of billions of non-existent N95 respirators.

Online, 3M says it has successfully secured the takedown of more than 7,000 websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings and more than 10,000 false or deceptive social media posts.

“The schemes we shut down were not only unlawful, they also endangered lives and wasted precious time and resources by diverting buyers from legitimate sources of much-needed respirators,” said Denise Rutherford, 3M’s senior vice president of corporate affairs.

“We will continue to partner with law enforcement and online retailers to take action against profiteers,” she added.

In June, the chairman of Chinese pharmacy chain Beijing Jinghai Kangbaixin Medicine Co was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling counterfeit 3M face masks.

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