The FTC said this week, per a report from a CBS News, that the scams in question included everything from hawking fraudulent hand sanitizer concoctions to offering equally fraudulent vaccination cards. Also mentioned among the scam operations are efforts aimed at stealing personal information while purporting to be assisting with funeral arrangements, duping elderly Americans into paying to receive a vaccine appointment, and more.
According to the FTC, those in the U.S. have lost an estimated $400 million due to such scams, which kicked off in 2020.
Earlier this week, the FTC gave an update on its work aimed at protecting consumers from various scams and frauds related to the pandemic, with Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Daniel Kaufman (pictured above) testifying before Congress. As detailed in the testimony, the FTC has issued more than 350 warning letters to companies and individuals—some of which were issued in partnership with the FDA—in response to operations built on “deceptive COVID-19 claims.”
Also this month, the FTC released a “year in review” report on consumer protection.
“The Commission knows from experience that COVID-related harms are likely to continue—even after the pandemic itself has subsided,” the agency explained in the report, available in full here. “Combatting these law violations will remain a top priority for the Commission, and we will continue to use every tool we have to stop this bad behavior, including seeking civil penalties under the newly enacted COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, 59 and exploring where problematic conduct is or should be addressed through rules.”