Monday, January 10, 2022

Consumer Protection: Cryptocurrency Payment Scams

  • The FTC issued a warning alerting consumers to a new cryptocurrency scam. Scammers begin by impersonating government, law enforcement, or local utility companies. They message or call the victim to the tell them that they have won the lottery or a prize. Eventually, the scammer requests money from the victim and instructs the person to withdraw cryptocurrency from a cryptocurrency ATM. The scammer provides a QR code so the victim can transfer the cryptocurrency to themselves. Tracking the cryptocurrency is extremely difficult to do, which means most victims are not able to retrieve their funds. The FTC issued the warning due to the increased number of reported scams.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Bureau of Consumer Protection: Deceptive and Misleading Conduct

  • The FTC is poised to settle charges against Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), a leading provider of business credit reports, for failing to provide its customers with clear, consistent, and reliable processes to fix errors in the credit reports they provided. In many cases, the reports contained incorrect information, including fundamental items such as a business’ name or address, which created financial burdens on the businesses using the reports. In addition, D&B did not properly disclose renewal terms of its subscription services, which led to increasing costs for its customers. Under the proposed order, D&B will provide refunds to certain businesses and will be required to make numerous changes to its processes to ensure that D&B responds promptly and fully to businesses’ complaints about incorrect information in their reports. The settlement would require specific disclosures and prohibit D&B from using automatic renewals to switch a subscriber into a more expensive product.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Bureau of Competition: Pharmaceuticals

  • Chair Lina M. Khan issued a statement on the ruling by Judge Denise L. Cote in the matter of Federal Trade Commission et al v. Vyera Pharmaceuticals, LLC et al. She highlighted the Court’s decision to hold “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli accountable by indefinitely banning him from participating in the pharmaceutical industry and requiring him to pay $64.6 million in disgorgement. Her statement noted that the lifetime ban “is a significant victory for American consumers” and that the decision “should be a warning to corporate executives everywhere that they may be held individually responsible for the anticompetitive conduct they direct or control.” In 2020, the FTC and seven state enforcers alleged that Vyera and Shkreli, who was CEO at the time, engaged in various anticompetitive acts including increasing the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill and prohibiting generic entry of the drug into the market. Daraprim treats a rare parasitic disease that infects pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients.