The Federal Trade Commission issued a report today that summarizes its efforts to protect older consumers from fraud and other issues in the marketplace. In the report, "Protecting Older Consumers 2017-2018: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission," the FTC says that, "Protecting older consumers in the marketplace has been a top FTC priority for decades."
The FTC noted the ever-increasing importance of looking out for older Americans. The FTC wrote, "As the population of older Americans grows rapidly, the FTC's aggressive efforts to bring law enforcement action against scams that affect them, as well as provide useful consumer advice, become increasingly vital."
In addition to detailing recent false advertising cases that the FTC has brought that impacted older consumers, the report also discussed various frauds that often target them -- such as technical support scams, business impostor scams, business, and sweepstakes, and lottery scams. (We recently reported on an FTC action involving the marketing of hearing aids.)
Marketers should always consider the audience to whom advertising is directed. Will the intended audience understand the claims that are being communicated? Will the format of the advertising mislead them in some way? Are disclosures presented in a manner that they will be easily understood? With the FTC looking closely at marketing that impacts older consumers, this report should serve as an important reminder to exercise extra caution when advertising to them.
"The FTC remains firmly committed to protecting older consumers through aggressive law enforcement and effective consumer education and outreach."