3M Warns of Counterfeit Protective Masks, Sues Vendor

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It seems like a month ago that most of the underground knock-off industry circulated around handbags and watches, but those times are over as far as we know it. Now, the black markets of America are starting to filling up with counterfeit safety masks according to the company and for the health and safety of their customers and for the integrity of their brand, they’re doing something about it.

“3M is committed to combating price gouging, fraud and counterfeit activity in connection with its products and the COVID-19 outbreak,” the company said. “3M has received reports of people fraudulently representing themselves as being affiliated with 3M, selling 3M products at grossly inflated prices, selling counterfeit products falsely claimed to be from 3M and falsely claiming to manufacture 3M products.”

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“3M is working to protect the public from counterfeiting and price-gouging on critical healthcare supplies, including the respirators and masks that are essential to our country’s healthcare personnel,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “3M will take decisive action against those seeking to take illegal and unethical advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working with law enforcement authorities around the world on this matter, including federal, state, and local authorities in the U.S.”

3M is also working with large e-marketplace operators on a coordinated plan to identify and remove counterfeiters and price-gougers from their sites and refer them to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

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Resources to fight fraud

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3M has created a new hotline to call for information on how to help identify authentic 3M products and to ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors. That number, in the U.S. and Canada, is (800) 426-8688.

If customers have concerns about potentially fraudulent activity, price gouging, or counterfeit 3M products, they can report their concerns at 3M’s website.

3M respirators

3M respirators are in high demand around the globe as healthcare workers continue to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the outbreak began, 3M has doubled its global output of N95 respirators to an annual rate of over 1.1 billion, or nearly 100 million per month.

3M has not changed the prices we charge for 3M respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been and will continue to work actively to eliminate price gouging by resellers of 3M respirators.

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To help customers identify and avoid inflated prices, 3M has published current single-case list prices for many of the most common 3M N95 respirator models sold in the U.S. on our website. Actual prices may vary, but customers should be suspicious of resellers quoting prices significantly above those listed.

Avoiding counterfeit products

To avoid counterfeit 3M respirators, users should only buy respirators in 3M packaging with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product. 3M respirators should not be sold individually or without packaging and user instructions. Products that have missing straps, strange odors, blocked valves, or misspelled words are likely not authentic 3M respirators.

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev