Troutman Pepper Weekly Consumer Financial Services COVID-19 Newsletter – Consumer Protection | #relationshipscams | #dating


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United States:

Troutman Pepper Weekly Consumer Financial Services COVID-19 Newsletter


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Like most industries today, Consumer Finance Services
businesses are being significantly impacted by the novel
coronavirus (COVID-19). Troutman Pepper has developed a dedicated

COVID-19 Resource Center to guide clients through this
unprecedented global health challenge. We regularly update this
site with COVID-19 news and developments, recommendations from
leading health organizations, and tools that businesses can use
free of charge.

Our bank and loan servicing clients also face novel
challenges affecting their industry due to COVID-19, particularly
the ever-changing rules and regulations concerning evictions and
foreclosures. We are closely tracking these updates and have
assembled an interactive tracker containing state orders and
guidance documents regarding residential foreclosure and eviction
moratoriums. You may access this interactive tool at
https://covid19.troutman.com/.

To help you keep abreast of relevant activities, below find
a breakdown of some of the biggest COVID-19 driven events at the
federal and state levels to impact the Consumer Finance Services
industry this past week:

Federal Activities

State Activities

Privacy and Cybersecurity
Activities

Federal
Activities:

  • On March 6, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19
    relief package, which will now head back to the U.S. House of
    Representatives for approval. The stimulus package includes a
    provision that would end the current policy of considering any
    student debt forgiven taxable income. Currently, any student loan
    debt canceled by the government can be considered taxable and
    levied at the borrower’s normal income tax rate. For more
    information, click here.
  • On March 5, the Federal Reserve Board clarified guidance
    relating to definitions for minority depository institutions
    (MDIs), expanded the MDI definition to include women-owned
    financial institutions, and highlighted resources available to MDIs
    through its Partnership for Progress program. By law, the term
    “minority” means any Black American, Native American,
    Hispanic American, or Asian American. The definition of MDI is
    consistent with the statutory definition of “minority
    bank,” and states that an MDI denotes any depository
    institution where a majority of the voting stock is owned by one or
    more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. For more
    information, click here.
  • On March 5, U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean reintroduced
    the Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act. The bill
    will amend Section 1692c of the FDCPA to prohibit collectors from
    threatening to have a covered member reduced in rank, to have
    his/her security clearance revoked, or to have the covered member
    prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The bill
    also requires the Government Accountability Office to report the
    act’s impact on military readiness and national security,
    including the extent covered members with security clearances would
    be impacted by uncollected debt. For more information, click here.
  • On March 3, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
    released a notice of proposed rulemaking to delay the mandatory
    compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage final rule from
    July 1, 2021 to October 1, 2022. The CFPB proposed to extend the
    compliance date to assist homeowners struggling with the financial
    impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.
  • On March 2, the Department of the Treasury announced that
    it opened the application process for the Emergency Capital
    Investment Program, a new initiative supporting access to capital
    in communities that have struggled the most during the COVID-19
    crisis. The program will invest $9 billion in community development
    financial institutions and minority depository institutions. For
    more information, click here.
  • On March 1, the CFPB issued a report warning of widespread
    evictions and foreclosures once federal, state, and local pandemic
    protections come to an end. Over 11 million families are behind on
    their rent or mortgage payments: 2.1 million families are behind at
    least three months on mortgage payments, while 8.8 million are
    behind on rent. Homeowners owe an estimated almost $90 billion in
    missed payments. For more information, click here.
  • On February 23, the Federal Communications Commission
    hosted “A Webinar for Consumers: COVID-19 Scams and Older
    Adults.” The webinar focused on the financial protection of
    older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, and included a panel
    discussion from experts from the CFPB, the Federal Communications
    Commission, and Health and Human Services. On March 1, the CFPB
    announced the availability of the webinar recording for on-demand
    viewing. To view the webinar, click here.
  • U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer intends to introduce legislation
    to codify a rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the
    Currency, which will require banks to conduct a risk assessment of
    individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions
    affecting whole categories or classes of customers when
    provisioning access to services, capital, and credit. The rule was
    recently placed on hold until the president appoints a permanent
    director to review it. For more information click here.

State
Activities:

  • On March 4, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a notice to
    the state bar that it’s “possible” that summoning of
    new jury pools for in-person, socially distanced jury trials will
    begin to take place starting May 17, 2021. The Court will monitor
    local COVID-19 levels and provide “further guidance in a
    future Order before any jurors… are asked to report in person or
    any trial proceeds in person.” For more information, click here.
  • On March 4, Nevada announced new guidance pertaining to its
    upcoming May 1 transition of authority over COVID-19 mitigation
    measures to local authorities. Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery Transition Plan builds upon the phased-in
    approach and long-term timeline outlined by Governor Steve Sisolak
    in Emergency Directive 037, while also setting
    forth the minimum requirements that local authorities must consider
    and address in their mitigation and enforcement plans to assume
    authority over the COVID-19 mitigation and management efforts at
    the county level. Local mitigation and enforcement plans must
    receive endorsements from the local health district/authority,
    superintendent for the local school district, city manager (in
    cities with a population greater than 100,000), and the Nevada
    Hospital Association and/or Nevada Rural Hospital Association.
    After receipt of all required endorsements, the respective Board of
    County Commissioners must approve by a vote the finalized plan. For
    more information, click here.
  • On March 3, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 229, extending a moratorium
    preventing residents from having their utilities disconnected
    through at least June 30. This moratorium applies to all
    residential gas, electric, and water utilities, both public and
    private. The moratorium also applies to cable and
    telecommunications providers for households with one or more
    school-aged children. Additionally, New Jersey utilities will not
    be permitted to charge late fees or fees to reconnect services that
    have been disconnected. For more information, click here.
  • On March 2, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
    issued an alert regarding COVID-19 fees charged by health care
    providers. The alert identifies whether health care providers can
    charge patients a fee for “more frequent cleaning and
    disinfecting” and “greater use of Personal Protective
    Equipment” during the pandemic. For more information, click here.
  • On March 2, the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an order
    to extend the Declaration of Judicial Emergency through March 28.
    For more information, click here.
  • On March 1, New York Attorney General Letitia James
    released a list of New Yorkers’ top 10 consumer complaints
    during 2020. “The havoc unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in
    addition to the numerous other ways consumers were defrauded in
    2020, sadly resulted in my office receiving a record number of
    consumer fraud complaints in 2020,” said Attorney General
    James. Internet-related issues, COVID-19 price gouging, and
    landlord-tenant disputes topped the list. For more information,
    click here.
  • On March 1, Connecticut’s Department of Banking
    extended the temporary remote work memorandum through June 30. The
    memo includes temporary mitigation actions licensees need to take
    to continue business due to COVID-19. For more information, click
    here.
  • On February 28, New York Attorney General Letitia James
    extended the suspension of debt collection for medical and student
    debt owed to the state of New York through at least the end of
    March in an ongoing response to financial impacts resulting from
    the spread of COVID-19. For more information, click here.

Privacy and
Cybersecurity Activities:

  • On March 5, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned
    consumers that scammers might target individuals facing financial
    distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FTC states that scammers
    might “claim to be from the government [or] an
    official-sounding organization” to offer prize and lottery
    winnings. The FTC reminded consumers that:

    • Legitimate contests don’t ask you to pay a fee or give
      your financial information;

    • Legitimate contests never send money by wire transfer, gift
      card, or cryptocurrency; and

    • Consumers should never trust caller ID because scammers can
      make it look like they’re calling from anywhere.

To learn more, click here.

  • On March 4, the FTC warned consumers looking for ways to
    meet romantic partners online during a pandemic to be aware of
    scammers creating fake profiles and asking for money. The FTC
    shares, “these scams always end the same way – with a made up
    story about why the person needs money.” Even for those not
    directly involved in these online relationships, the FTC said that
    friends and family could help others avoid relationship scams. Some
    things to keep in mind:

    • If a friend or loved one mentions an online love interest,
      ask if they’ve met in person;

    • If they haven’t met in person, and that love interest
      asks for money, that’s a scam; and

    • Only scammers tell people to send money by gift cards,
      money transfers, or cryptocurrency.

To report a romance scam, the FTC
reminded victims to report scammers to the dating or social
networking sites and the FTC’s ReportFraud.ftc.gov. For additional
information, click here.

  • On March 3, the FTC launched an initiative tasked to expand
    outreach to lower-income community members with legal aid
    organizations. The initiative aims to connect consumers “who
    have experienced fraud and other consumer problems with an easy way
    to report it and with advice to help them recover.” As
    consumers continue to face COVID-19-related financial pressures,
    the FTC asks members of the legal community to encourage local
    organizations to participate in the FTC’s initiative. For more
    information on the initiative, click here. To
    read the announcement, click here.
  • On March 2, the FTC warned that scammers are taking
    advantage of COVID-19 vaccination confusion. The FTC first warned
    consumers they do not need to pay to sign up for the COVID-19
    vaccine. “Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list,
    make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a
    scammer.” Further, you can’t pay to get early access to
    the vaccine. The FTC also reminds consumers to ignore sales ads for
    the vaccine because it’s not something you can buy. The vaccine
    is “only available at federal- and state-approved
    locations.” To learn more about COVID-19-related scams, click
    here.
  • On March 2, The Wall Street Journal reported that
    large retail pharmacies are “collecting data from millions of
    customers as they sign up for shots, enrolling them in patient
    systems and having recipients register customer profiles.” The
    retailers state they are “using the information to promote
    their stores and services, tailor marketing and keep in touch with
    customers.” It appears executives at a large retailer
    confirmed they plan to “stay in touch with recipients beyond
    receiving their second shot [to] use information gleaned in the
    process to better market them.” To learn about potential
    privacy implications, we recommend Troutman Pepper’s article, published earlier last year, that
    discussed privacy guidelines for COVID-19 contact-tracing app
    makers; many of the same privacy principles apply to retail
    pharmacies collecting customer information. To learn more about
    The Wall Street Journal’s report, click here.
  • On March 2, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam singed the
    Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) into law. The CDPA provides
    consumers with the right to opt out of the processing of personal
    data for purposes of targeted advertising, the right to confirm if
    their data is being processed, the right to amend inaccuracies, and
    the right to data deletion. The CPDA also mandates that data
    controllers provide consumers with a privacy notice, conduct data
    protection assessments, and maintain reasonable data security
    practices. The CPDA will become effective on January 1, 2023. For
    more information, click here.
  • On March 1, it was reported the European Commission is set
    to unveil a proposal for a “digital green pass” that will
    provide proof of vaccination. The European Commission’s pass
    will display COVID-19 test results and information on those who
    have recovered from the virus, in addition to vaccination status.
    Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said, “[t]he aim is
    to gradually enable [individuals] to move safely in the European
    Union or abroad – for work or tourism[.]” For those interested
    in learning more about data compliance issues in vaccine
    verification applications, check out Troutman Pepper’s Law360 article. To read the full
    report discussing the European Commission’s potential plans,
    click here.
  • On March 1, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
    announced the launch of a series to educate consumers on several
    consumer protection issues, including those relating to COVID-19
    scams, robocalls, and identity theft. AG Healey’s office also
    shared the various actions they have taken to protect consumers
    during the pandemic. For those interested in learning more, click
    here.
  • Late last month, an Oxford University lab conducting
    COVID-19 research confirmed it experienced a security incident. The
    breached data compromised teams researching the coronavirus and
    potential vaccine candidates. The incident does not appear to have
    affected work done toward the development of the Oxford
    University-AstraZeneca vaccine. A spokesperson shared they
    “are aware of an incident affecting Oxford University and are
    working to fully understand its impact[.]” To read the full
    report, click here.

ialist advice should be sought about your specific
circumstances.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide
to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your
specific circumstances.

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