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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FTC reports on actions to protect seniors

Federal Issues FTC Elder Financial Exploitation Covid-19 Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On October 18, the FTC issued a report titled Protecting Older Consumers, 2021-2022, A Report of the Federal Trade Commission on measures taken to protect older adults from scams. Using data from the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which is a secure online database that provides law enforcement agencies with access to reports from consumers about fraud and other consumer problems, the report generally found that older adults reported significantly higher losses to investment, business impersonation, and government impersonation scams in 2021 as compared to 2020. Among other things, the report noted that: (i) the FTC sent thirty-one cease and desist demand letters regarding potentially false or deceptive advertising or marketing actions related to the Covid-19 pandemic; (ii) FTC enforcement actions have resulted in relief of more than $462 million to consumers of all ages in the last fiscal year; and (iii) scams where older adults were contacted on social media are increasing. In addition to describing three rulemakings that focused on key actions that the FTC has taken to protect older consumers, the report mentioned enforcement actions impacting older consumers. The report also provided details about the FTC’s outreach and education efforts through such programs as the Pass it On campaign, which focuses on providing fraud prevention resources to older adults so they can help protect their communities by sharing information and materials with family and friends.

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