I’m not quite sure how the trademark scams did not make it into the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) annual report from 2017 summarizing complaints received. I am certain that the FTC gets flooded with information regarding a wide variety of scams daily. But the annual report from the FTC, released last week and summarizing the scams it heard about features zero references to trademarks or the USPTO.
Some of the characteristics of common scams referred to in the press release accompanying the report will sound familiar to trademark owners: imposters of government officials and the use of wire transfer payments.
The full report is available here:
From the press release accompanying release of the report: The data book includes complaints from 2.68 million consumers, a decrease from 2016 when 2.98 million consumers submitted reports about fraud, identity theft and other types of consumer concerns. Despite this, consumers reported losing a total of $905 million to fraud in 2017 — $63 million more than in 2016.
Give the plethora of scams preying on trademark owners, how is it that this report contains no references to trademarks or the USPTO?
Given that the USPTO hosted a round table with law enforcement and the FTC in July of 2017 about this issue, how is it that this report contains no references to trademarks or the USPTO?
To their credit, the FTC did publish a blog post last year, Is the USPTO really contacting your company? Maybe not.
I urge the FTC and other government agencies to do more to notify consumers and to take more steps to crack down on the operators of these scams to punish the offenders and protect consumers.