• The Honorable Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
• The Honorable Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
• The Honorable Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General
• Mr. Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., Consultant, Abagnale & Associates
• Mr. Mike Schwanke, Reporter, KWCH-12 Eyewitness News
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security
The hearing will be held in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on this page.
Chairman Jerry Moran
Good afternoon, and welcome to the first hearing of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security in this new Congress. I am pleased that Ranking Member Blumenthal is here today, and I look forward to working with him again this Congress on the pressing issues facing consumers, and overseeing the work of the federal consumer protection agencies that fall within the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.
I am convening this important hearing to discuss scams affecting American consumers. In the Commerce Committee, we often debate – and sometimes differ on – the proper role of government, the appropriate level of regulation, and the best ways to protect the public without imposing unnecessary burdens on the private sector that would stifle their contributions to the economy.
Today, however, the issue before the committee is one of which there is broad consensus. Consumers need protection from those who seek to defraud them through scams, and the federal government must do everything it can to protect consumers from the truly bad actors. American citizens are scammed out of billions upon billions of dollars every year, with zero corresponding benefits to our nation’s economy.
With technology becoming more sophisticated over time, so also has the complexity of scams continued to progress. From fake charity donation solicitation calls to “phishing” email scams that lead to identity theft, a wide variety of scams that unduly harm Americans continue to bypass consumer protection enforcement measures at the federal, state and local levels.
To that end, this committee oversees the Federal Trade Commission, and I am pleased we are joined today by Acting Chairman Ohlhausen and Commissioner McSweeny, who together constitute the current FTC in its entirety. However, with all due respect to Chairman Ohlhausen and Commissioner McSweeny, I believe it is important that the president act swiftly to restore the Commission to full strength. The FTC’s work in support of consumers and competition is too important for the agency to continue operating shorthanded in the weeks and months ahead.
I would also like to extend a welcome to our former colleague Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Mr. Frank Abagnale, and Mr. Mike Schwanke. All three will provide unique perspectives today reflecting the ways government protects citizens through fraud prevention, the perspectives of scam victims, and the mentality and common tactics of scammers themselves. This is an exciting witness panel for today’s hearing, which I hope will have a meaningful impact to raise awareness about this important issue, educate consumers about particular scams to watch out for, and prevent future scams from continuing to harm consumers and acting as a significant drag on our economy. Thank you all for being here.
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Maureen K. OhlhausenActing ChairmanFederal Trade Commission
The Honorable Terrell McSweenyCommissionerFederal Trade Commission
The Honorable Mike DeWineOhio Attorney General
Mr. Frank W. Abagnale Jr.ConsultantAbagnale & Associates
Mr. Mike SchwankeReporterKWCH-12 Eyewitness News