March 26, 2020

Wyden Urges Federal Trade Commission to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus Scams

In response to the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) scams, bipartisan letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calls on the FTC for stronger consumer protections and education for seniors

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams.

In response to the recent increase in these scams, Wyden joined a group of bipartisan senators on a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons calling on the FTC to better inform seniors about coronavirus scams and assist victims in understanding their recourse options to ensure that seniors are protected from those attempting to financially exploit them during the pandemic.

“At this time of heightened public fears, reports have highlighted that scams pertaining to the coronavirus are increasing, and that seniors—arguably the most vulnerable population to both the coronavirus and bad actors—have been targeted with calls telling them that the COVID-19 vaccination is ready when no such treatment currently exists,” the senators wrote.

“Other reports have outlined how scammers have gone to the homes of elderly people to administer fake tests while also charging them and obtaining their social security numbers. Although the FTC has sent warning letters to seven sellers of fraudulent COVID-19 treatments, we are concerned that further action is needed to protect the financial wellbeing of seniors—who lose an estimated $3 billion annually from financial scams.” 

In addition to Wyden, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Todd Young, R-Ind., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Roy Blunt, R-Mo.,. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., John Thune, R-S.D,, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. , Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tom Carper, D-Del., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The full text of the letter is available here.