FTC Blogs

Tidying up: Decluttering the COPPA FAQs

Maybe it’s the influence of that best-selling book on home organization or perhaps the silos of stuff in our makeshift home offices are becoming more noticeable. Either way, people are in a decluttering mood – and we are, too. Our recent project: updating and streamlining Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions, known as the COPPA FAQs. But not to worry. The revisions don’t raise new policy issues and our COPPA Rule review continues.

FTC Data Spotlight on scammers impersonating Amazon: How businesses can reduce injury to consumers

The FTC has been warning consumers for years about impersonation scams – calls that falsely claim to come from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or other offices or businesses. The messages try to coerce people into making immediate payments or turning over sensitive personal information.

Amazon tops list of impersonated businesses

Scammers impersonate all sorts of businesses, but reports to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel point to Amazon as a runaway favorite for scammers. From July 2020 through June 2021, about one in three people who reported a business impersonator said the scammer claimed to be Amazon. Reports about Amazon impersonators increased more than fivefold during this period.1 About 96,000 people reported being targeted, and nearly 6,000 said they lost money. Reported losses totaled more than $27 million. The reported median individual loss: $1,000.

Keeping older adults safe from scams

As today’s annual report to Congress makes clear, the safety of older consumers in the marketplace is a priority for the FTC. Protecting Older Consumers 2020 – 2021: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission summarizes the agency’s ongoing law enforcement efforts, new research results, and extensive outreach aimed at keeping older adults safe from scams including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avoid marketing scams during 2022 Medicare Open Enrollment

During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins on October 15 and ends December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can choose the plans that are best for them for 2022. You can get help comparing Medicare plans from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), available in each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Private insurance companies administer, market, and sell Medicare Advantage (MA, Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), so it’s important to understand your rights and some of the limits on marketing. That way you’ll be prepared if an insurance broker or agent tries to enroll you in a Medicare plan that isn’t right for you.

New report: Serving Communities of Color

The newly-released Serving Communities of Color Report summarizes the past five years of the FTC’s efforts to address, understand, and educate people about consumer issues that have a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color. And, it confirms the FTC’s commitment to continue this important work. Here are some highlights of the report:

Latest FTC Notice of Penalty Offenses tells 700+ national advertisers that deceptive endorsements can lead to financial penalties

Employing every available means to protect consumers from deceptive and misleading practices, the FTC recently announced the revitalized use of its statutory Penalty Offense Authority. More than 700 businesses – top consumer products companies, leading retailers and retail platforms, major ad agencies, and other names you know – are recipients of the latest Notice of Penalty Offenses aimed at curbing illegal practices in the use of endorsements and testimonials.

FTC puts advertisers on notice: honest opinions only

If you’re like many people, before you lay your money down — particularly for big-ticket items — you want to hear what past buyers say about them. The FTC took a big step today to make sure that what you hear is truthful. It warned businesses that the endorsements they use to help sell their products must reflect the actual experience and opinions of real people who used them.

Spot the pandemic scam: emergency broadband program impersonators

Have you seen ads on social media that offer to “help” you sign up for a government program that will give you a “free” device and internet service in exchange for money or personal information? While there is a real government program to help people connect during the pandemic, there’s no payment required to enroll. That’s just a scam.

Notice of Penalty Offenses: What FTC’s announcement means for your business

When the financial future of millions of Americans is at stake, it’s important for the FTC to use every tool at its disposal to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair conduct. The FTC just announced the revitalized use of an existing method to hold companies accountable by imposing financial penalties for illegal acts.