Amanda Horowitz is a writer,
businesswoman and owner
of Fight Back! She is the
daughter of Fight Back’s
founder, David Horowitz.
Fight Back! has received
multiple Emmy Awards
and awards from more than
;;; government and citizen
groups and has helped to
draft over ;; pieces of
in the United States.
Horowitz can be contacted
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WHEN THE Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is
in the news, you should pay attention. Why? The
agency goes to bat for you. As the nation’s consumer protection agency, it works to ensure that
companies compete fairly and that individuals
and businesses do not trick, mislead or defraud
consumers when it comes to advertising, selling
and marketing products and services.
According to agency data, financial losses
due to fraud increased last year. Consumers
reported losing ;;;; million—;;; million more
than in ;;;;. Adults ages ;; to ;; reported losing
money more often than their elders. However,
when those age ;; and older lost money, the
median amount was much higher.
Here is some information about the FTC and
how you can help further its mission.
The FTC comprises three bureaus that work
together. The Bureau of Consumer Protection
makes sure individuals, businesses and industries adhere to the law when it comes to advertising, telemarketing, financial practices and
information collection, and privacy practices. It
conducts investigations, collects consumer complaints, writes rules and regulations, educates
the public and businesses, and takes legal action
against alleged lawbreakers.
The Bureau of Competition guards against
anti-competitive mergers and business practices. It investigates violations of the law, challenges possible problems and litigates cases.
And the Bureau of Economics provides scientifically sound, data-driven analysis that
informs regulation and enforcement policy.
Five commissioners lead the agency. No
more than three commissioners can be members
of the same political party—that of the current
administration. The president nominates the
commissioners and chooses one to act as chair-
person. The FTC is based in Washington, D.C.,
and has several regional offices across the nation.
The FTC takes action to halt allegedly illegal
practices and challenge anti-competitive mergers. In some cases the agency may get refunds for
consumers and businesses that have been
harmed. Last year, the Bureau of Consumer
Protection Office of Claims and Refunds
directed mailings that resulted in nearly ;;;;
million in refunds, and it supported programs
administered by FTC defendants to deliver more
than ;; billion in refunds.
The FTC investigates individuals, businesses and industries. The FTC discusses
potential penalties for breaking the law with an
alleged violator and what changes are necessary to avoid future violations. If the parties
cannot agree, the FTC can sue to stop the illegal
conduct. Whether the FTC and the defendant
agree to a settlement or a court orders the party
to stop illegal practices, the defendant must act
in accordance. The FTC checks up on violators
for years and can seek civil penalties for settlement order violations.
You can report fraud, identity theft and
unfair, deceptive or misleading business practices to the FTC. Even if you were not the party
harmed, you can complain at ftc.gov/complaint
or by calling ;-;;;-FTC-HELP (;;;-;;;;).
Filing a complaint does not typically result
in an immediate response or mean that a problem will be fixed. Complaints help other agencies investigate and take enforcement actions
whenever they are warranted. The complaints
are kept in a database shared with national and
global law-enforcement partners.
The FTC educates consumers and businesses. The FTC offers publications on a variety
of topics, including privacy and cybersecurity,
shopping and advertising, debt, loans, homes
and mortgages, jobs and health. To access free
print publications and share them with your
community, visit ftc.gov/bulkorder.
The FTC holds free workshops, conferences
and roundtables open to the public. Events may
bring together researchers, industry and consumer representatives, policymakers, service
providers and others to examine issues.
For more information or to sign up for scam
alerts and stay in the know, visit ftc.gov. C
FTC and you
Agency works to protect and inform