Shaheen, Hassan & Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Federal Trade Commission to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus Scams

March 27, 2020

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

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter with 32 of their colleagues to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging it to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams. In response to the recent increase in these scams, the letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons calls 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. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) led the bipartisan effort.

The Senators wrote, “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.”

They continued, “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.” 

The letter can be read in full here.

On Wednesday, Shaheen and Hassan both voted in favor of new coronavirus response legislation to provide urgent relief to workers, small businesses, health care providers, hospitals and families impacted by this public health crisis. This legislation was the result of around the clock bipartisan negotiations, of which Shaheen helped negotiate provisions to assist small businesses alongside Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME). It passed the Senate unanimously and will be considered by the House today. The New Hampshire congressional delegation has fought for and voted in favor of two previous economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their coronavirus response efforts, and to support workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the disease. The President signed both bills into law. The first economic package led to New Hampshire receiving an initial $4.9 million in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).