Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz released the agency’s 2012 Annual Highlights today at the spring meeting of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law in Washington, DC, recognizing the agency’s continued efforts to protect consumers and promote competition.
The Highlights, published in an online format for the first time this year, focus on the Commission’s work in multiple areas since March 2011, including online privacy, consumer fraud during the economic downturn, health care competition, and safeguarding children.
“This has been an incredibly productive and important year for consumers and for competition. We’re proud that the FTC has been at the forefront of practicing good government, effective law enforcement, and outstanding outreach to consumers, businesses, and our law enforcement partners around the globe, all in a bipartisan, consensus-driven way,” said Leibowitz in a video statement.
The Highlights call to attention the FTC’s work in 10 broad categories, including:
- Protecting Consumer Privacy: The FTC continues to raise the profile of privacy practices – online and off - through law enforcement, consumer education, and policy initiatives.
- Fighting ‘Last Dollar’ Fraud: The FTC is stopping scammers who take advantage of the nation’s most financially fragile consumers through deceptive mortgage servicing practices, abusive debt collection tactics, bogus credit repair services, sham mortgage, tax, and debt relief offers, and fraudulent job and business opportunity schemes.
- Promoting Competition in Health Care and Containing Costs of Prescription Drugs: The Commission works to prevent anticompetitive conduct and mergers involving the health care sector, from hospitals to pharmaceutical companies. One of the FTC’s top priorities continues to be restricting anticompetitive “pay-for-delay” patent settlements.
- Trending in Technology: Nearly 100 years of experience gives the FTC a unique perspective when it comes to anticipating and evaluating new technology, and using appropriate measures of enforcement, education, and public engagement to address evolving markets and business models.
The FTC also remains focused on using enforcement, education, and engagement to
safeguard children from unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising and protect kids online.
The Highlights identify the FTC’s work in challenging deceptive advertising and marketing including successfully challenging a number of deceptive claims about disease prevention and health promotion. While monitoring energy markets, the FTC closely scrutinizes mergers and acquisitions in the energy sector, and monitors environmental marketing to make sure it is truthful and based on scientific evidence. The Highlights also note the FTC’s increasing international collaboration with foreign counterparts and how the Commission practices good government through ongoing rule review and other initiatives.
Archives of past Annual Reports are available on the FTC website.
Statistics from the Bureau of Competition (above) and the Bureau of Consumer Protection (right) from the FTC's 2012 Annual Highlights.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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