Agency vows ‘no hesitation’ in taking enforcement action for consumer abuses, scams profiting from COVID-19 crisis

There will be no hesitation in taking public enforcement action when appropriate against companies or individuals that abuse or scam consumers during the coronavirus crisis, the federal consumer financial protection agency warned Friday, and it urged consumers to file complaints when they think they sense any abuses.

In a blog post, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cautioned the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected its ability “or resolve” to use its enforcement tools to police the consumer financial marketplace. The agency said that, through teleworking to ensure staff safety, it is monitoring the marketplace in real time and coordinating with other federal and state agencies “committed to stopping COVID-19-related malfeasance.”

“We are taking, and will continue to take, swift action when we identify companies or individuals that violate the law to profit from the current economic uncertainty,” the agency said.

The CFPB noted that it would take public enforcement actions against companies or individuals that engage in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices or who discriminate or otherwise violate federal consumer financial protection laws, in order to profit from the pandemic.

The agency used the blog post admonition to solicit complaint submissions from consumers and others – including whistleblowers – to the agency. “Complaints give us insights into problems people are experiencing in the marketplace and help us enforce federal consumer financial laws,” the bureau said. “We also encourage current or former employees, contractors, vendors, and competitor companies to report potential violations of Federal consumer financial law.”

Enforcement work continues with a commitment to protecting consumers