Sen. Cantwell urges Congress to return money to consumers victimized by scams

Sen. Cantwell Urges Congress To Return Money To Consumers Victimized By Scams

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell urged Congress to restore the Federal Trade Commission’s authority that returned money to consumers victimized by scams, fraud and other illegal practices.

In April 2021, the Supreme Court overturned the FTC’s “Section 13(b)” authority, which helped return $11.2 billion dollars to consumers in the five years prior to the decision.

“This report makes very clear what’s at stake for consumers if Congress fails to act,” Sen. Cantwell said. “If the FTC remains disarmed of this critical authority, millions of consumers and small businesses who’ve been scammed, swindled, or locked out of competitive marketplaces will never be made whole.”

Before the Supreme Court’s decision, the FTC’s 13(b) enforcement authority was critical in addressing big technology and pharmaceutical companies’ ability to harm consumers and small businesses. Amazon, Uber, AT&T, Teva and Tracfone returned millions of dollars to victims of illegal conduct through the authority.

“This is unconscionable,” added Sen. Cantwell. “Congress can act to stop this from happening in the future and restore this vital authority to the FTC so it can help return money back to consumers’ pockets.”

According to data from the FTC, there were 57,453 reports of consumer fraud in the state of Washington in 2021 alone. A total of $135.7 million were stolen from consumers, with an estimated $500 being lost per scam.

Sen. Cantwell will introduce legislation to fully restore the FTC’s ability under Section 13(b) to allow the FTC to sue scammers and to return the money they took from consumers. She plans to introduce the legislation on the week of May 9.

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