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FTC – Protecting Consumers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Year in Review

Protecting Consumers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Year in Review – “The Federal Trade Commission is a bipartisan independent agency that protects consumers and promotes competition. The COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant economic fallout touch on the full breadth of the Commission’s mandate. The FTC has applied its resources to investigate and respond to issues arising from COVID-19 over the last year, and, with the benefit of recent support from Congress, will redouble those efforts going forward. The Commission began taking action related to COVID-19 even before the March 13 declaration of a national emergency, warning consumers in February 2020 about COVID-19-related scams. Here is a snapshot of the FTC’s actions to protect consumers3 during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Filed 13 enforcement actions against companies that, among other things, failed to deliver personal protective equipment or made deceptive health or earnings claims.
  • Directed more than 350 companies to remove deceptive claims related to COVID-19treatments, potential earnings, 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 transformation to digital work and schooling, including videoconferencing, ed-tech and health-tech.
  • 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-related topics…”

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