Just as the annual holiday season of shopping and celebrating nears, a major federal financial regulator released new research detailing how communities of color not only are targeted by well-known types of predatory lenders, but new forms of fraud seek to exploit consumers in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published by the Federal Trade Commission, “Serving Communities of Color” summarizes the agency’s five-year effort focused on the financial ills imposed upon communities of color. Since 2016, the FTC filed more than 25 actions alleging conduct that either targeted or disproportionately impacted communities of color. Cases challenged unlawful practices by auto sellers, for-profit schools, money-making opportunities, student debt relief schemes and more.
Beyond these financial transactions, the report also notes that many of the payment methods used by Black and Latino consumers provide fewer fraud protections, such as debit cards, cash and money orders. Although credit card payments afford greater consumer protections, very few complaints filed with FTC by people of color involved this type of payment.
“What has become abundantly clear based on research and experience is that fraud, as well as certain other business practices, have a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color, as compared to White communities,” the report stated. “An examination of 23 FTC cases shows that predominantly Black communities are overrepresented in…