In conjunction with an enforcement sweep led by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is aimed at stopping illegal schemes that exploit older Americans, the Federal Trade Commission has just brought two enforcement actions.
In the first case, FTC v. Next-Gen, the FTC and the State of Missouri alleged that the defendants ran a fraudulent sweepstakes operation that misled people into believing that they had won money. In order to collect their prizes, however, the FTC alleged that people had to pay fees ranging from $9 to over $100. The FTC alleged that, since 2013, consumers have lost more than $110 million to the defendants' scheme.
In the second case, FTC v. Genius Technologies, the FTC alleged that the defendants tricked consumers into buying bogus technical support services. The FTC alleged that the defendants misled consumers into believing that they were from well-known technology companies and told them that they needed expensive security software to protect their computers.
While these are cases where the FTC is alleging that the marketers engaged in fraudulent conduct, it's important for all marketers to look closely at their advertising to older Americans to make sure that you're marketing to them in ways that they will be able to understand.
Notices such as “Congratulations, You Have Just Won $1,230,946.00,” when the consumer hasn’t actually won anything