DOJ and FTC Focus Efforts on Scams Amidst COVID-19

As the evolving COVID-19 situation is sweeping across the nation and affecting the economy for both local and global companies, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) are focusing their efforts on bringing down offenders trying to take advantage of a crisis situation. On March 9, 2020, the U.S. DOJ released a statement that it intends “to hold accountable anyone who violates the antitrust laws of the United States in connection with the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of public health products such as face masks, respirators, and diagnostics.” On the same day the FTC issued warning letters to “seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus” as violating consumer protection laws. The FTC “will continue to monitor social media, online marketplaces and incoming complaints to help ensure that the companies do not continue to market fraudulent products under a different name or on another website.” If you come across any suspicious claims, you can report them to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or contact your local authorities.