Beware of Scammers Targeting 3M Combat Arms Earplug Settlement Claimants, U.S. District Court Warns

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Beware of Scammers Targeting 3M Combat Arms Earplug Settlement Claimants, U.S. District Court Warns

In a recent order, Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued a warning to claimants and attorneys involved in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation. The court has alerted them to be cautious of scammers posing as employees of Settlement Administrator Archer Systems LLC and attempting to retrieve sensitive personal information. These scammers have been contacting claimants involved in the $6 billion settlement deal reached in August 2023, asking for social security numbers and dates of birth.

The fraudulent activity emerged after a Reddit post leaked the telephone number previously used by Archer Systems to contact claimants. Scammers took advantage of this information and spoofed outgoing calls to claimants, pretending to be employees of Archer Systems. As a result, the court intervened and notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about the scam.

Judge Rodgers emphasized the importance of vigilance in protecting personal information from potential scammers. The court’s order advises claimants to reach out to their lawyers immediately if contacted by someone claiming to be an Archer Systems employee. It also states that Archer Systems will only ask claimants for the last four digits of their social security numbers, not the entire number. The court discourages sharing information about the settlement on social media, as the scammers obtained the telephone number through a claimant’s social media post.

The case underlying this scam involves 3M and its subsidiary, Aearo Technologies Inc., which manufactured and supplied Combat Arms Earplugs (CAE) to the United States military between 2003 and 2015. The earplugs were meant to protect military service members from loud noises during training and combat. However, their short design failed to provide adequate coverage to some users’ ear canals, leading to hearing loss and other ear issues.

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In 2016, competitor Moldex-Metric, Inc. filed a whistleblower lawsuit against 3M, alleging that the CAE did not meet the government’s protection standards. In 2018, 3M paid over $9 million to settle with the Department of Justice. Subsequently, individual lawsuits were filed by military service members, and in 2019, these cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Florida. In August 2023, a $6 billion settlement was reached with the 260,000 claimants involved, making it the largest MDL in U.S. history.

The current scam targeting claimants in this high-profile settlement underscores the prevalence of cyber-attacks and security breaches in recent times. Scammers are now targeting vulnerable populations, such as veterans, by utilizing novel schemes enabled by platforms like Reddit. It is crucial for individuals to stay informed and take steps to protect their personal information.

This cautionary order from the U.S. District Court serves as a reminder for all claimants and attorneys involved in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug settlement to be cautious when disclosing sensitive information and to report any suspicious activity. By taking these precautions, claimants can safeguard their personal information and avoid falling victim to identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation?

The 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation is a legal case involving 3M and its subsidiary, Aearo Technologies Inc., who manufactured and supplied Combat Arms Earplugs (CAE) to the United States military between 2003 and 2015. The earplugs were intended to protect military service members from loud noises during training and combat. However, the earplugs' design did not provide adequate coverage for some users' ear canals, leading to hearing loss and other ear problems.

What is the current scam related to the 3M Combat Arms Earplug settlement?

Scammers are posing as employees of Settlement Administrator Archer Systems LLC and contacting claimants involved in the $6 billion settlement reached in August 2023. They are attempting to retrieve sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers and dates of birth. This fraudulent activity emerged after scammers obtained the telephone number previously used by Archer Systems to contact claimants, which was leaked through a Reddit post.

How are scammers targeting claimants in this scam?

Scammers are spoofing outgoing calls to claimants, pretending to be employees of Archer Systems. They are asking for personal information and trying to deceive individuals into sharing their social security numbers and dates of birth.

What actions has the U.S. District Court taken to address this scam?

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, through Judge M. Casey Rodgers, has issued a warning to claimants and attorneys involved in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug settlement. The court has alerted them to the scam and advised them to be cautious and vigilant. The court has also notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about the fraudulent activity.

What precautions can claimants take to protect their personal information?

Claimants are advised to reach out to their lawyers immediately if contacted by someone claiming to be an Archer Systems employee. They should not share their full social security numbers and can provide only the last four digits if necessary. Additionally, claimants should avoid sharing information about the settlement on social media to prevent scammers from gathering personal information.

What previous legal actions have been taken regarding the Combat Arms Earplug issue?

In 2016, Moldex-Metric, Inc., a competitor of 3M, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against 3M, alleging that the Combat Arms Earplugs did not meet the government's protection standards. In 2018, 3M reached a settlement with the Department of Justice, paying over $9 million. Subsequently, individual lawsuits were filed by military service members, and these cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Florida in 2019. In August 2023, a $6 billion settlement was reached with the 260,000 claimants involved, making it the largest multidistrict litigation in U.S. history.

What does this scam reveal about cyber-attacks and security breaches?

This scam targeting claimants in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug settlement highlights the prevalence of cyber-attacks and security breaches in today's times. Scammers are using novel schemes enabled by platforms like Reddit and targeting vulnerable populations, such as veterans. It underscores the importance of staying informed, being cautious when sharing sensitive information, and taking steps to protect personal information to prevent falling victim to identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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