Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joe Simons said that the agency is “doing our part” to recognize and overcome the challenges faced by consumers and businesses during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

“We will not tolerate businesses seeking to take advantage of consumers’ concerns and fears regarding coronavirus disease, exigent circumstances, or financial distress,” he said in a statement.

He added that the agency will also exercise “flexible and reasonable” enforcement throughout the pandemic. “I am not suggesting that we will tolerate companies deceiving consumers … good faith efforts undertaken to provide needed goods and services to consumers will be taken into account in making enforcement decisions,” Simons clarified.

In a press release, FTC further explained that flexible enforcement should help ensure that consumers have access to important goods and services during this time and that the agency can provide businesses with guidance on compliance obligations.

Simons urged members of the public that encounter scams to report the fraudulent businesses to the FTC.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.