New FTC Staff Report Highlights Ongoing Efforts to Protect Consumers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Advertising Law

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) staff has issued a report highlighting the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses challenges consumers face during the pandemic and details the Commission’s strategy to combat COVID-19-related fraud and other consumer issues using sophisticated targeting, aggressive law enforcement, and ongoing partnerships and outreach.

The report lists the following actions the FTC has taken to protect consumers during the pandemic:

  • Filed 13 enforcement actions against companies that failed to deliver personal protective equipment or made deceptive health or earnings claims, including its first action under the new COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act discussed here.
  • Directed more than 350 companies to remove deceptive claims related to COVID-19 treatments, potential earnings, and financial relief for small business and students, and warned companies that it is illegal to assist and facilitate deceptive COVID-19 calls.
  • Prioritized privacy enforcement actions addressing the types of conduct that have been exacerbated in the transition to digital work and schooling, including videoconferencing, edtech and healthtech.
  • Collected and tracked more than 436,000 reports associated with COVID-19 between January 2020 and April 7, 2021, in which consumers reported $399 million in fraud losses.
  • Issued more than 100 consumer and business alerts on COVID-19-related topics.

The report is available at https://www.ftc.gov/reports/protecting-consumers-during-covid-19-pandemic-year-review.

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