Beware: Scammers Increasing Their Efforts Amid COVID-19

As if the effects of COVID-19 on our health and safety and the American economy were not enough to deal with, cybersecurity criminals and scammers have increased their efforts to target employers and workplaces that may have increased vulnerability in the wake of businesses trying to continue to operate remotely.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that it has received more than 7,800 fraud complaints from consumers related to the COVID-19 pandemic since January. Despite having to change its own procedures due to COVID-19, the FTC has been publishing guidance on COVID-19 scams and also sending out warning letters to sellers of false treatments.

The FTC recently published a blog post detailing how the FTC has been working to improve the clarity of FTC orders in data security cases over the past year. Specifically, the FTC has made three improvements to its orders: (1) specificity; (2) increased third-party assessor accountability; and (3) elevation of data security to C-Suite and Board level. Improving specificity should benefit all parties involved, requiring the FTC to lay out steps for compliance in greater detail, an improvement from its previous, more vague standards, while the second and third improvements should benefit the FTC and its ability to scrutinize lack of compliance.

Though it is not yet known how the FTC will combat these COVID-19 scams, we anticipate the FTC would incorporate these improvements in data security orders going forward including those relating to COVID-19 scams, particularly since the increased instances of fraud against consumers in the wake of COVID-19 has already drawn its attention and focus.

Categories: Technology & Privacy