3M is working to curtail fraud and profiteering by those seeking to take advantage of the demand for its products used by health-care workers and first responders. The St. Paul, Minnesota, company, which operates in the promotional products market through its 3M Promotional Markets Dept. (PPAI 113638, S11), has expanded its region-specific resources to report and stop fraud around the world, and launched new legal efforts. It has also established hotlines around the world to report suspected fraud and has created online resources to help spot price-gouging, identify authentic 3M respirators and ensure products are from 3M-authorized distributors.

3M has factories that produce respirators and other critical products needed to fight COVID-19 in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. To combat increased counterfeiting and online fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak, the company says it is working with law enforcement and customs agencies in every region of the world. 3M is also engaged with many major e-marketplace operators to detect and disrupt fraudulent and counterfeit respirator offers, including Amazon, Alibaba, Mercadolibre, Lazada, eBay, Flipkart, Shopee, Made-in-China and several others.

3M reports investigating more than 7,700 fraud reports globally, filed 19 lawsuits and has been granted nine temporary restraining orders and seven preliminary injunctions. More than 13,500 false or deceptive social media posts, over 11,500 fraudulent ecommerce offerings and at least 235 deceptive domain names have been removed. In addition, 3M has been awarded damages or has received settlement payments in seven cases, with all proceeds being donated to COVID-19-related charities.