May 06, 2020

Warren, Klobuchar Lead Colleagues in Letter to Federal Trade Commission Calling for Protections Against Scams Targeting Small Businesses

Launch of the Paycheck Protection Program prompted a major increase in reported scams targeting small businesses during this time of crisis

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC -- United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led a group of their colleagues in expressing concern to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons about the recent increase in scams targeting small businesses and calling for action to better protect small businesses. 

The launch of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program has prompted a major increase in the volume of reported scams targeting small businesses during this time of crisis. Many small businesses have faced challenges in gaining access to the program’s funding, which has emboldened scammers promising quick payment and rendered historically disadvantaged small business owners uniquely vulnerable to exploitation.

“Small businesses are a crucial part of our economy and employ nearly half of all workers in the private sector. By forcing most potential customers to remain in their homes, the current crisis has placed many small businesses under extreme financial pressure, rendering them unusually vulnerable to scams,” the senators wrote.

“The FTC must take bold action to respond to these threats. While we recognize that the FTC has added information to its website to inform consumers and small businesses about coronavirus-related scams, we are calling on the agencies to take stronger action to ensure that the huge population of potential victims—the nearly 60 million hardworking men and women who own or are employed by small businesses—are protected during this time of crisis.” 

In addition to Warren and Klobuchar, the letter was signed by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).